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Dataset Search: an open source tool for your campaign?

Google recently announced the release of a new dataset search engine tool. Like Google Scholar, Dataset Search provides keyword-oriented search results to make the web’s thousands of data repositories more accessible.

How to use it

While Dataset Search’s utility may be obvious for industry and academic research, we think this tool could be utilized by political and advocacy campaigns of varying types.

If a user searches for a term like “consumer data,” the results provide datasets from various sources, including consumer price indices, government agencies, think tanks, trade groups, higher educational institutions, and others.

Additionally, you can refine your search query by providing specific searches such as “U.S. Retail Sales” or “consumer price index pricing data for 2016.” All results are similarly displayed.


The research capabilities of this platform offer a simple approach to dataset research and acquisition for campaign staffers. Users in this space attempting to employ Dataset Search for a project should know what to look for, in any case.

For example, users searching for registered voter datasets for a specific jurisdiction may find limited details if they use a basic phrase such as “registered voters.” Providing specific keywords and phrases like “Tennessee Registered Voters by County” or “2016 Presidential Primary” will produce enriched results.

Beta test

Keep in mind that Dataset Search is still in the beta testing phase. There are very few search filtering options besides the traditional search bar.

The search engine is also actively welcoming feedback from users so the product’s developers can improve the overall experience.

Google Dataset Search is free to access and is available for users by clicking here.

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