Data.gov, a great source of teaching data

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Recently, I’ve been finding datasets for a R course I’m teaching. In the past, I’ve used my own data or the default R courses. But, I wanted to find broader datasets that would appeal to a broader audience than the ecologists and environmental scientists I usually interact with. Enter Data.gov.

Although quirky, the I’ve found several interesting datasets for students to explore.  These range from economic data to medical data to crime data. I only have 3 criticisms. First, the page took a little bit to figure out how to navigate around. However, I quickly got around this. Second, many cool datasets only have meta-data because the original data cannot be shared. Atlas, all good things have limits. Third, several pages had dead links. However, I was often able to find the original dataset using quick Google search.

In conclusion, Data.gov rocks. It is an integrated data warehouse for data from around the US ranging from local governments up to state and federal datasets. If it was a commercial product, I would give it 3 stars, but as government product I give it 4 starts because of all the agencies it bridges.

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