Data.gov is in the process of redesigning its web space. To see an early preview and give your feedback go to next.data.gov. The site developers will post biweekly updates on data.gov blogs related to the site’s development.*
One of the features of the new site that appeals to me as a librarian is the “Data Catalog.” Not only will you be able to search for data by the creating organization, but also by keywords or file format.** You will also be able to use these indexes in combination. Looking at a combination of keywords “health” and “food,” I got eight results. In these eight results there is an entry for “FDA Peanut Product Recalls” and “FDA Peanut Product Recalls Widget.” The “FDA Peanut Product Recalls” data is available in XLS (data formatted for an Excel spreadsheet) and XML (data and formatting in markup language). The site is definitely still under construction and not ready for use; the Peanut data is not indexed by organization yet. So, if I had searched for “FDA” as an organization I would have gotten no results.
In addition to the Data Catalog researchers will be able to find information by doing a site wide search, by a looking at a community page, or by skimming the highlights page. From the community pages you will be able to do a search, view the latest news, or skim highlights. The highlights page is organized by topic.
The switch to the new design will take place on November 9, 2013.
*The biweekly releases are being named after the presidents. The August 3rd release is called the Adams Release.
**NOTE: The site classifies “widgets” as a file format. A widget is actually an software application. For example the “FDA Peanut Product Recalls Widget” allows users to search the peanut recall data.