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Finding Data

Use this guide to begin looking for data sets, repositories, and corpora for digital studies or other class assignments.

What is data?

a hand holding a net which is collecting yellow, black and white pixelated squares.The word "data" is from the Latin datum, or "that which is present." Data is simply a piece of information, and like any information, has lots of potential for interpretation, manipulation, calculation, or visualization. Data can be numbers, words, images, sounds, and objects that are collected to find and interpret meaning. This guide will help you find common collections of data that are open, online, and accessible through Fant Library's collections.


Image credit: Nicholas Blechman, Harvard Business Review,

Using Data

There are many different types of data –nominal, ordinal, continuous, discrete – that can be used in different ways. Data is not just for the sciences. It is also important to understand and use data in other academic disciplines, like the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

This guide was created to help compile some useful, quality data sources for MUW students. Collecting and interpreting data is part of the research process, but it can be difficult. If you have ever have any questions, just Ask Athena or schedule a research appointment with one Fant’s Librarians.

Featured Database