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Accessing government statistical information

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4 Author(s)
Marchionini, G. ; North Carolina Univ., Chapel Hill, NC, USA ; Haas , S.W. ; Zhang, J. ; Elsas, J.

As government agencies provide increasing amounts of information through their Web sites, more people are attempting to make sense of it. The result is a significant volume of e-mail queries - many of which boil down to "Where can I find X?" or "What does X mean exactly?" Such queries underline a major stumbling block to widespread digital access: how best to provide highly codified, statistical data to a large, diverse population with varying levels of numerical literacy. The responsibility for this challenge falls to government statistical services, which must somehow package staggering amounts of data on everything from the gross national product to basic animal care in a way that a diversity of potential data users find palatable. The GovStat project aims to make the vast resources of government statistical data more broadly accessible to both agencies and the general population. Some first steps are creating layers of online help to address different browsing needs and developing prototype interfaces for exploring data.

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 12 )