How congressional offices could use Google Dataset SearchSeptember 11, 2018 / Michael McGrady
Google recently announced the release of a new dataset search engine tool. Like Google Scholar, Dataset Search will provide keyword-oriented search results to make the web’s thousands of data repositories more accessible.
While Dataset Search’s utility may be obvious for industry and academic research, we think this tool could also assist congressional offices better understand their districts and constituents.
For instance, a search for “congressional districts” offers a variety of constituent datasets from various governmental sources.
These sources included the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Transportation, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Environmental Protection Agency with datasets ranging from congressional district population tabulation, demographics, geographical information, and environmental data.
Similar search queries yielded additional useful results. When we searched, “states,” and “cities,” for example, the results were also wide-ranging. These queries provided broad results from agencies, higher educational institutions, and some publishers. Staffers doing policy research could also use Dataset Search for a variety of purposes.
The research capabilities of this platform offer a simple approach to dataset research and acquisition for congressional staffers. Users in this space who attempt to utilize Dataset Search for a project should know what to look for, in any case.
Keep in mind that Dataset Search is still in the beta testing phase. There are very few search filtering options besides the traditional search bar. The search engine is also actively welcoming feedback from users so the product’s developers can improve the overall experience.
Google Dataset Search is free to access and is available for users by clicking here.
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