At our annual CAR conference in Jacksonville, IRE and NICAR announced initial steps to help save federal data that could disappear.

Our hope is to help organize the efforts currently underway by journalists and concerned citizens. IRE and NICAR will host a central directory on our website to show submitted details on rescued data and where it’s kept. Our hope is to prevent duplicate efforts and provide transparency.

We’re asking those interested to complete a survey to tell us if they have collected a dataset or if there is a specific dataset that there is concern about. If you know about a dataset that has already been saved by another organization, we’d love to know that too. In the survey, you can tell us more about the dataset and how you use it in your reporting already. 

We will collect this data in the original format that it comes from on a government website. We don’t guarantee any cleanliness or documentation of the data. Our goal is to collect it just as it exists. We will document the source of the data, who downloaded it and when. Whether you’ve scraped the data or received it via FOIA, we want to hear from you.

Other organizations, like DataRefuge, have been holding data rescue events across the country, harvesting and saving environmental and climate data. Explore the 140 datasets they have already saved. We plan to post their index on ire.org.

If you have any questions, feel free to email director of data services Charles Minshew at [email protected] or call (573) 882-1982.