The Presence of Library-Related Datasets on State and State Capital Open Government Data (OGD) Sites

Your Name and Title: Sandra Hirsh

Library, School, or Organization Name: School of Information; San Jose State University

Co-Presenter Name(s): Rong Tang (Simmons University), Will Gregg (Simmons University), Elaine Hall (San Jose State University)

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: USA

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Open Government Data Developers; Library and Information Science Community

Short Session Description (one line):  Learn about the findings from an investigation into the library-related datasets on Open Government Data (OGD) sites in the US and the implications for libraries.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like): 

In this presentation, we report the findings of an investigation into the library-related datasets on Open Government Data (OGD) sites in the US. We selected 51 OGD sites (26 state OGDs + 24 capital city OGDs + Washington DC OGD), and examined the presence of library datasets on these sites. The data coding was performed in April 2019. For each OGD site, we performed searches of the term “library” on the “search open data” search box of the OGD sites. For those sites that returned results, we recorded information such as  “library datasets found,” “number of library-specific datasets,” “titles of datasets,” “library names,”  and “number of data fields.” We further recorded whether the datasets contained certain fields such as “library name or branch name,” “library address,” “library hours,” and more. We also recorded datasets visualization display options such as  “table view,” “map view,” and “chart view.” When necessary, we also noted special characteristics associated with the library datasets.

Among the 51 OGD sites that we examined, there were 22 OGD sites (43%) that retrieved library-specific datasets. In other words, over half (57%) of the OGDs sites we examined contained no library-related datasets. Among the 22 OGD sites that contained library datasets, the coverage ranged from very basic to comprehensive. Public libraries are operated based on the taxpayers’ money. The general public has the rights to access library data. The current state of practice of OGD sites does not necessarily focus on library datasets. Information professionals should become more involved in incorporating library datasets into the OGD sites and making those datasets more visible and accessible to general public users. Currently, out of 51 OGD sites, only two included “library” in their top-level data categories appearing on the homepage. Even on the 22 OGD sites that contained library datasets, labor-intensive search and selecting efforts were needed to identify library-specific data. The authors of this presentation wish to call attention to the alarming gaps in presence and visibility of library related datasets on OGD sites and urge the LIS community to make concerted contributions to the development of OGD sites.  

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: None

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