Google Dataset Search Engine Helps Journalists, Researchers Find Data in Public Records

Google recently unveiled a new search engine called Dataset Search that helps scientists, data journalists, policy makers and others find the data they need for their work in public records.

The search company said its new dedicated search engine will let you find datasets wherever they’re hosted, whether it’s a publisher's site, a digital library, or an author's personal web page.

“In today's world, scientists in many disciplines and a growing number of journalists live and breathe data,” Natasha Noy, Research Scientist, Google AI, said in a blog post announcing the search tool. “There are many thousands of data repositories on the web, providing access to millions of datasets; and local and national governments around the world publish their data as well.

To enable easy access to this data, we launched Dataset Search, so that scientists, data journalists, data geeks, or anyone else can find the data required for their work and their stories, or simply to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.”


How Google Dataset Search Works


According to Noy, Dataset Search works in multiple languages with support for additional languages coming soon. You simply enter what you are looking for into the search tool and Google will guide you to the published dataset on the repository provider’s site.



For example, let's you are looking for public records about weather trends. Noy says you can enter a query like “daily weather” into the Dataset Search tool. The tool will list search results with data from NASA and NOAA, as well as from academic repositories such as Harvard's Dataverse and Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).


 Google Dataset Search Results Page

Google Dataset Search results page for query “daily weather.”


Noy adds that Dataset Search will initially allow you to find references to most datasets in environmental and social sciences, as well as data from other disciplines including government data and data provided by news organizations, such as ProPublica.

If you are journalist writing about climate change and were looking for a specific dataset on ocean temperatures for an upcoming story, for example, this tool can be particularly useful to find the information you need. Similarly, if you are an entrepreneur looking for a collection of related data about user demography to back up your startup pitch or development, this new search engine can be useful for your research.

Dataset Search adds to Google Scholar, another of the company’s dedicated web search engine tool for indexing full texts of scholarly articles and academic studies and reports across an array of publishing disciplines.

If Dataset Search becomes popular, the amount of data the tool indexes should experience growth as more dataset providers, institutions and scientists ascent to Google indexing their data and making the information easily discoverable and accessible through search.

“This launch is one of a series of initiatives to bring datasets more prominently into our products,” Noy said.

Alexis Davis is a senior staff writer at She covers social media and other digital media news affecting creative writers and online entrepreneurs.