Google Dataset Search

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If you’re a data scientist or suffering from a compulsion to mine vast amounts of data for some “data gold” then you may find Google Dataset Search of interest. Alternatively, you may be curious about what all the fuss is about big data, data mining, data analytics, data analysis and data modeling.

“Data analysis is the process of evaluating data using analytical and logical reasoning in order to examine each component of the data. Typically this process is done automatically by analytics tools but the process works by inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modelling data with the goal of providing useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making.” [1]

Google’s new Dataset Search allows you to search for publicly held datasets in a similar manner to Google Search. Dataset Search is still in beta though it appears refining web searches are much the same as the common search techniques used for Google Search. Public datasets that are quite popular at the moment include US Medicare data, weather data, disease surveillance, motor vehicle accidents and GitHub. The current aim of Google Datasets Search is to connect the datasets from thousands of data repositories and make them discoverable for users. Datasets currently available mostly include sets from environmental and social sciences, government data and news organisations.

What is a dataset?

According to Google, a dataset may include:

  • A table or a CSV file with some data
  • An organized collection of tables
  • A file in a proprietary format that contains data
  • A collection of files that together constitute some meaningful dataset
  • A structured object with data in some other format that you might want to load into a special tool for processing
  • Images capturing data
  • Files relating to machine learning, such as trained parameters or neural network structure definitions

 

– By Martin Hyson, Electronic Resources Officer, UNE Library.

 

[1] “What is Data Analysis?” 2016.Progressive Digital Media Technology News, Jul 28. http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.une.edu.au/docview/1807470517?accountid=17227.

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