Syllabus Resources


Journalism 772 and 472: Computer-Assisted Reporting

Ira Chinoy / Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland



A sample of sources


This site has examples of data that can be downloaded from the Web or searched on the Web


Lists of links to data sources on the web:

  Downloadable Data on the Net (NICAR Net Tour):

  A Journalists Database of Databases (Drew Sullivan):

  Finding Data on the Internet (

  FedStats Government site with links to over 100 federal agencies with data on the web:

  GPO Access (Government Printing Office): Search multiple federal databases from one page:


Governments with sites for downloadable data:

Federal government:

District of Columbia: Data Catalog:


Governments with sites for summary data:

Maryland: StateStat:

Baltimore: CitiStat:




  Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation:

o   List of searchable databases:

o   Business Data Search:

o   Real Property (real estate) Data Search:


Culture and entertainment

  Cultural Policy & The Arts National Data Archive:

  UNESCO Institute for Statistics:

  Federal Communications Commission Registered cable communities:


Demographics and social issues, current and historical:


o   2000 Census Data for Maryland:

o   Historical statistics from census data:

  Kids Count Annie E. Casey Foundation compilation of data on the well-being of children:

o   Overview:

o   Downloadable raw data:

o   Kids Count Census data online:

  The Association of Public Data Users:

  Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research:

  The Urban Institute:

o   State Database:

o   National Survey of Americas Families:

  National Center for Children in Poverty:


Economy, business, financial institutions, nonprofits, workplace:

  Internal Revenue Service Tax Stats Nonprofits, by state:,,id=97186,00.html

  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

o   National Compensation Survey Tables:

o   Worker Fatalities Data:

  U.S. Census Bureau E-Commerce Statistics:

  National Credit Union Administration call reports:

  Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - custom data downloads:

  U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

o   Searchable database of workplace injuries:

  Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation   

o   Searchable databases:


  College Results Online data on colleges and universities compiled by The Education Trust:

  Maryland School Performance Report Card:

  Education Week student achievement:

  National Center for Education Statistics

o   Common Core of Data Education Data Files:

o   Demographics of school districts:

o   Digest of Education Statistics, 2002:

  U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid school default rates:

  UNESCO Institute for Statistics:


Environment, weather, natural disasters and other emergencies:

  Historical Severe Weather Data NOAA:

  Right-to-Know Network Environmental Databases:

  Toxicology Data Network TOXNET:

  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

o   EPA Data:

o   EPA Envirofacts:

o   EPA Drinking water data:

o   Engangered Species Protection Program Databases:

  National Response Center (spills and other environmental discharges):

o   Home page:

o   Downloadable data (in Excel):

o   Searchable data: (slow)


Government spending:

  Office of Management and Budget: searchable databases of contracts and grants --

  Census: Federal, State, and Local Government Data:

  Consolidated Federal Funds Report:

  Federal Assistance Award Data System:

  D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) searchable database:



  American Public Human Services Association Federal Data Index:

  Kaiser Family Foundation / State Health Facts Online:

  Excluded Individual and Entities, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services:


  Medicare databases: [Note: site was inaccessible 5-23-04]

o   comparing nursing homes (including inspections):|Home|Resources|DownloadDatabase#TabTop

        Notes about the data:|Home|DataDetails|DataCollection#TabTop

o   home health care:|Home|Resources|DownloadDatabase#TabTop

o   dialysis facilities:

  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:

  U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration: Geospatial Data Warehouse:

  Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience Database - (MAUDE):

  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

o   CDC Data and Statistics:

o   National Center for Health Statistics:

  U.S. National Library of Medicine links to data sets and data sources:

  National Practitioner Databank: and

  US Dept. of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service:

o   Food Stamp Program:

o   Child Nutrition:

o   WIC (Women, Infants and Children):

o   Food Distribution Program:



  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:

o   Data sets:

o   Subsidized housing:

o   The Office of Inspector Generals Exclusion Program:

  Maryland Real Estate Values:

o   Searchable database:


International issues:

  World Trade Organization:

  United Nations Statistics Division Social Indicators:

  U.S. Census International Programs Center:

  International Trade Administration (US Dept. of Commerce):

  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development:

o   Statistics and databases:,2639,en_2825_293564_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

  Government of India a sampling of sites with data that can be downloaded:

o   Planning Commission:

o   Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation:

        Home page:

        Economic Census, 1998:

o   Election Commission of India:

(includes links to data in zipped Access files)


Law enforcement, courts and crime:

  U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics:




  Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports:

  National Archive of Criminal Justice Data:

  Office of Postsecondary Education Campus Security Statistics:

  Maryland Judiciary Case Search [search engine]:



  Windfalls of War The Center for Public Integritys report on military contractors:

  Department of Veterans Affairs

  Federation of American Scientists Arms Sales Monitoring Project:

o   Sample data set from queries:

        U.S. military aid appropriations for all countries for 2003 --

        U.S. military aid deliveries to all countries in the Middle East and South Asia for 1990-2001:



  Federal Election Commission

o   Downloadable databases:

        Detailed files:

        Summary files:

        Tutorial on importing FEC data into Microsoft Access:

o   Searchable databases:

        Individual contributors:

  Campaign Finance Information Center (c/o IRE) data sources for state races:

  The Buying of the President 2004 The Center for Public Integritys report on candidate finances:

  Follow the Money The Institute on Money in State Politics:

  The Center for Responsive Politics:


Real estate:

  Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation -- Real Property (real estate) Data Search:


Science and Technology:

  National Science Foundation Division of Science Resources Statistics:

  UNESCO Institute for Statistics:


Sports and recreation

  Hunting accidents Maryland Natural Resources Police:

  Sports salaries USA Today database:

o   Baseball:

o   Basketball:

o   Football:

o   Hockey:



  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

o   Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):

o   Office of Defects Investigations:

  Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, U.S. Dept. of Transportation:

  Federal Rail Administration Office of Safety Analysis:

  Bureau of Transportation Statistics National Transportation Atlas database:

  Intermodal Transportation Database:

  National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Database: (MS Access data)

  Boating accidents Maryland Natural Resources Police:

  Federal Transit Administration National Transit Database:

  National Aviation Safety Data Analysis Center:



Mechanics of data importing


Help with data importing and data formats:

  Tip sheet on data formats (Jeff South, VCU): Link: (use class username and password)

  Tip sheets on importing text files containing data, such as files ending in *.txt, *.csv, *.dat, *.tab (you can also use the Help system in Excel and Access, and both programs have data import wizards; the tip sheets below explain how to get to the wizards and give you anoverview):

o   Importing into Excel (for record sets no larger than 65,536 rows, including field names and totals)

        Overview of import wizard:

        Importing delimited files:

o   Importing into Access:

        Overview of importing delimited data:

  SAS System Viewer free application for viewing and printing SAS files:;jsessionid=967763786440F8E958BC0E4F884805EE.tomcat4?cat=SAS+System+Viewer

  Converting from PDF to TEXT files: Sometimes data appears in PDF files and cannot be directly imported into database or spreadsheet programs as they are. However, depending on the way the PDF file was created, it may be possible to convert its contents into a text file that can then be imported into Excel or Access. You can read more about this here in a tip sheet from the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting :