What is it: A tool for finding public datasets and helping journalists analyse and use data more effectively.
How is it of use to journalists?
Data released by official agencies and government bodies provides transparency and insight, and can often highlight trends or anomalies that are in the public interest.
However, some of these datasets are often difficult to access, while in other instances it is not clear whether they even exist, making it harder for journalists to find stories and collect information to provide the bigger picture.
Enigma Public, a free tool built by data management and intelligence company Enigma, launched yesterday (20 June) with the aim of helping users find the data they need and learn how to improve their use of information.
The 100,000 datasets from over 100 countries bring together information from international organisations and federal governments, and local and state governments in the USA, spanning subjects like building permits and fire inspection data, to things such as the contents of shipping containers, and financial contributions to political campaigns.
"We wanted to provide an interface that enabled that information to be searched, discovered, and related," said Marc DaCosta, Enigma's chairman and co-founder.
"All the data in Engima Public will be updated regularly, from online and offline sources, and is really a work in progress to grow and keep adding to it."
The site can be used in two main ways: to search for a specific topic, company or person and see the datasets related, or to browse through the collection and see what stands out to you individually.
There are curated collections of datasets to help journalists, such as energy, health and sanctions, or they can simply work through the categorised public collections of data to find what they are looking for, and bookmark the sets they want to come back to later.
Datasets can be filtered by keyword to help reporters find what they are looking for within the bulk of information, and they can be exported to save to a user's computer.
"We see Enigma Public as a place for people to begin their investigations and discover datasets that pertain to a particular topic they are interested in," said Eve Ahearn, product manager, Enigma.
"We are also launching a monthly newsletter to help journalists find the data they hadn't used or seen before, and we also have a homepage guide to provide more context, insights and help reporters jump into this world of public data more easily."
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