Getting databases from reliable sources

By KYLI SINGH

Since our CNJ515 class is currently working with databases, I think it’s appropriate to point out some important Web sites that provide us with data and statistics.

Databases help organize our overwhelming amount of information.  We can use databases to find out new information and to study patterns and trends of a specific topic.  When looking for credible, reliable databases we must turn to authoritative sources such as the following:

1) U.S Census Bureau: As a division of the U.S Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau is the main source of data about America’s people and economy. Its motto is “Helping You Make Informed Decisions.” They also collect national demographic and economic data.  Through surveys, polls and other programs, the Census has statistics for housing, income projections, poverty, health insurance and more.

2) World Health Organization: Established in 1948, this organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is in charge of keep tabs on international public health. If you’re interested in finding data and statistics on disease and health systems around the globe, be sure to take a look at this Web site.

3) Data.gov: Developed in May 2009 by Vivek Kundra (chief information officer (CIO) of the United States), data.gov is a U.S. government Web site that provides public access to datasets through “raw” data catalogs, using tools and using the “geodata” catalogs. Their motto is “Empowering People.” According to the Web site, the site’s purpose is to “increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.”

4) The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: Based in Washington, D.C., this research center gives the public access to information on issues and attitudes of both the U.S. and the world. The group receives funding through The Pew Charitable Trusts and makes it clear that they are a non-advocacy group. The Web site has currently has featured surveys such as “Support for Same-Sex Marriage Edges Upward” and “Possible Negatives for Candidates: Vote for Bank Bailout, Palin Support.”

If you’re working on a database assignment, these Web sites are excellent starting points and will help you come up with ideas to further develop your story idea. Be sure to take a look at these!

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