Created in 1977 the International Federation of Data Organization (IFDO) maintains associate memberships in the International Social Science Council of Unesco and enhances social science research coordinating worldwide data services. Its website provides mainly structured information on social sciences topics and above all, as a gateway, it offers links to data banks and archives. Different hypertextual essays and papers on data analysis collection, storing and archiving are retrievable, as well as information about national and international surveys in html format. For each data archive link a classification and detailed annotations and descriptions are offered, with an efficient linking and hypertextual structure. Access to these metadata, papers and codebooks is open and free for all users. Then access to data archives depends on each archive’s policy. Even if the website’s organization of contents is quite complex, a site map and other more elementary tips enable immediate orientation. Just few search and downloading options are provided, with browsing and on-screen saving. The site appear to have a slow updating rate, while its simple design could be improved by adding some dynamic elements.
International Federation of Data Organization for the Social Sciences
An international project providing access to data archives
An extensive database on world statistics and country comparisons
Created by an innovative web technology developer and its company based in Sydney, Australia, NationMaster is both a statistical database and a source of country information, as well as a tool for research and teaching. This website allows to retrieve a vast compilation of statistics and nation comparisons by providing data from authoritative sources such as the CIA World Factbook, UN, OECD and other organizations. Users can retrieve statistic info on several topics, as well as view profiles of individual countries, including their maps and flags. Statistics are all provided with methodological explanations and sources, notes and comments. The possibility of establish variable correlations and visualize the (already ordered by statistical relevance) related graphs is also present. Access to all statistics and databases is totally free for all users. A printer-friendly version is available and onscreen saving is always possible. A basic keyword search engine permits item location in a quite dense environment. NationMaster is fully integrated with Wikipedia, the free content online encyclopedia, and a Forum section is open for comment revision. Moreover, a specific section provides some learning tools for students and lessons for teachers. This site features an RSS feed option and also several ads provided by Google AdSense program.
Population Reference Bureau
Data on population and its trends worldwide
Providing current news and analysis on themes related to population’s conditions, fluxes, and trends such as education, economic development, migration, families, etc., the Population Reference Bureau (RPB) website aims to inform people, expecially those living in developing countries. The website provides plenty of demographic data-sheets, research papers, news bulletins, and other comprehensive documents about population, health, and the environment at the global level. A key feature of this site is its staff capacity to transform technical and research data into accurate, easy-to-understand information. All publications, data and tools are explained and guides to demographics are provided. Well designed and easy to navigate, this resource is quite useful for PS scholars as well as for policymakers and the general public. Most content is available free of charge, downloadable in pdf or ppt files, while an annual individual membership entitles to receive PRB publications on paper and other extra benefits. Other important features are a printer-friendly format and an email option for each page, as well as customizing tools. A keyword search and a detailed datafinder cover the entire database. A smaller version of the website content and interface is also available in French and Spanish.
Socio-political Data Centre
The new data archive of Sciences-Po
The Centre de Données Socio-Politiques (CDSP), created in 2005 by the French National Research Centre and the Sciences-Po foundation and supported by several French and international organizations, provides a useful data bank available both on-line and on-site. The collected data are primary data from surveys, researches and studies conducted by the Sciences-Po staff or by partner institutions. Partner of the European archives CESSDA and ICPSR and affiliated with the ZA in Germany the CDSP website gives also access to relevant surveys like Eurobarometer and the European Social Surveys. The three main CDSP topics are the French elections, the French surveys and the international surveys. Some data are directly available online by the CDSP pages, others are accessible via the Nesstar software after a free registration, others are retrievable by accessing the partners’ institutions websites. All data and surveys are given with detailed metadata and careful methodological explanations. The website is in French but some pages are partially available also in English. Files and data can be both downloaded in several statistic or html formats and elaborated for secondary analysis. Indirectly available data are provided through links to specific pages of the partner institutions. Access is completely open and free for all users.
The Governance Databank
A statistical database managed by the World Bank
The Governance Databank is maintained by the Governance Group of the World Bank (which facilitates action-oriented and participatory programs to promote good governance and curb corruption in its client countries). Meeting the growing demand for quantifying the governance performance of countries, localities, and institutions, the database provides access to recent statistical data taken from World Bank publications and projects. This includes indicators on political stability, government regulation, political corruption and accountability, government effectiveness and the rule of law for over 185 nations worldwide. The various datasets available (over 140) include some basic information and characteristics, generally providing free access to a large amount of information, papers or charts, as well as to several searching tools. Some datasets may be downloaded in a zipped format, while others are accessible through an interactive interface to the web user as an e-learning tool. Some material is available in several different languages, including Spanish, French, Arabic and Chinese and is retrievable through a local search engine which offers multiple choices and quick results.
The Harvard-MIT Data Center
A distributor of International quantitative social science data
The Harvard-MIT Data Center is a distributor of quantitative social science data from major international data consortia for Harvard and MIT. Its main mission is to create, and make widely accessible, statistical and analytical tools for the social and health sciences; and to use these tools for understanding and solving major problems that affect society and the well-being of human populations. This is a very large and integrated database, providing access to a great amount of statistics and data collected from prestigious International sources. Information is extremely rich in reference material for further research. The HMDC also maintains a large library of electronic data and a growing collection of unique data sets and provides computer support to several of Harvard’s social science departments, research centers, and schools. While overall information, research summary and other electronic resources are available freely over the Internet, many more data are restricted to members of the MIT and Harvard communities.
The Roper Center’s iPoll
Survey results from academic, commercial and media sources
iPOLL is a comprehensive, up-to-date source for US nationwide public opinion polls gathered from academic, commercial and media sources (from Gallup to Newsweek to Pew Research). This database offers a wide array of resources to scholars and professionals, at a fair updating rate for related news and data. A full-text retrieval system is organized at the question-level providing the tools to sift through nearly 400,000 questions asked on national public opinion surveys since 1935. iPOLL’s collection includes also thousands of polls taken in some 70 countries and is regularly adding U.S. and International survey data, thus offering a complete collection of public opinion information – mostly targeting experts and professionals. Access to iPoll is on a paid subscription basis (free trial included), yet rich-in-text material is freely available, such as abstracts of National Election Polls, National and State Exit Polls, study documentation and some Roper’s publications. In general, the database has a professional and user-friendly approach throughout its many areas, providing a good overview of today’s public opinion polls.
The World Bank Data and Statistics
The World Bank online access to statistics and databases
World Bank Data is a World Bank Group’s online resource providing access to a large quantity of statistical data on many aspects on economy and development of countries worldwide. Data are searchable by topics and countries, provided in electronic and image format. The website features different of information about development and financial indicators, as well as tables on technology diffusion, statistics, data on emerging markets, projections, and other specific databases. Most of the social data are collected annually, but some financial and economic data are available on a quarterly or monthly basis. Some databases are free of charge while some others are provided on an annual subscription basis, with different policies for individual or institutional users and discounts for developing countries residents. Many other information about the methodological aspects, current projects and activities sponsored by the World Bank in the data collection field are also retrievable by all users. More specific records are searchable by browsing subjects and countries or by using the multiple search features. A clickable site index, as well as a comprehensive site map, and a help page with several links, are also provided — tools particularly useful for first time users.
UK Data Archive
A UK archive for social science and humanities surveys
UK Data Archive is an institutional center of expertise in digital acquisition and preservation of data for social sciences and humanities in the UK. It was founded in 1967 by a joint collaborative public initiative. It gathers about 5000 surveys, mainly focused on Great Britain, including quantitative and qualitative researches produced by official agencies, international statistical societies, market research organizations and academic institutions, with surveys covering a wide range of issues. Data are provided as computer readable datasets, working on different platforms with several formats: SPSS, STATA, tab delimited formats, Excel, Word and RTF. Searching and browsing information is free and does not require registration, which is necessary to reach for data content. Non-members access to comprehensive online information and links to access data is available for each dataset, together with effective and detailed navigational aid and rich description for each survey, including methodological issues and the period of the research. The website architecture is very intuitive and is provided with effective searching tools, topic listings and other options. Overall the website is well structured and featured an intelligent visual outline.
United Nations Statistics Division
The UN data bank on global social change
The UN Statistical Division is a section of the UN official website, entirely dedicated to statistical data. More than fifteen complex databases are available on-line, made up of surveys produced by the UN and by other major international agencies. They cover a very wide range of topics related to the overall activities of the UN and, virtually, all the regions of the globe, offering a huge amount of detailed statistical data, concerning demography, development, international trade, health, education. The site is not entirely free, yet non-subscribers can access many areas and view several data. The freely accessible databases are structured mainly by links and topics, while those reserved to paid subscribers are endowed with a comprehensive search engine, which can also be used by non-subscribers in a restricted version. The subscription fee policy is more favorable for developing countries, non-profit organization, and public libraries. Governments have free access. Fees are on an annual base; no pay-per-use is allowed. The whole site architecture does not appear so intuitive, mostly due to the scarcity of navigational aids.