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News from President Toni Preckwinkle

Open Data Portal May Improvements

During the past several weeks we have been working on making incremental improvements to the user experience of the data portal.

Default View

The default display type has been changed from “compact list” to “rich list.” The Rich List display shows more of the dataset description and for tabular datasets provides a RSS feed link making it easy to subscribe to dataset updates.

Old default Compact List view:

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New default Rich List view:

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Duplicate, misnamed, and test Datasets and Filtered Views

A month ago someone browsing the Data portal would have seen fifiltered views with names like “attempt1”, “#1”, “#2”, “Jack”, and “test1.” Sometimes these views contained only 1 record and other times were identical to the master published dataset. In total we have removed over 100 filtered views and map views like these from the data portal search and are identifying additional duplicate datasets and views to remove in order to make it easier to find usable data.

Where is this data from? When is it from? What does it mean?

Another way to improve usability is through improved metadata. Metadata is information and data that describes or explains the data. While the Data Portal has the ability to provide a variety of metadata, it has been included inconsistently between datasets and views on the portal. We are in the process of improving the metadata for data already on the portal and developing guidelines for future additions. Our initial focus has been on the dataset Title, description, time period, and attribution. We are changing titles to follow similar formats making it easier to find related datasets. Through editing descriptions we are adding or updating information about the time period the dataset covers. Additionally we are correcting and adding attribution information stating which department or Bureau the data originates from. We have modified metadata for over 200 datasets so far. This will be an ongoing process and will expand to improve metadata about dataset columns and update frequency.

Recent Data Additions

Over the past two months the Cook County Clerk’s Map Department in collaboration with the Cook County GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Department has added nine spatial datasets containing taxing boundaries in the county. Taxing district boundaries include education, fire, drainage, park, water, and library. This data can be used to determine if a property is within a taxing district.

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