Google Dataset Search now in public beta

Datasets are scattered across the web, tucked into cobwebbed corners where nobody can find them. Google Dataset Search aims to make the process easier:

Similar to how Google Scholar works, Dataset Search lets you find datasets wherever they’re hosted, whether it’s a publisher’s site, a digital library, or an author’s personal web page. To create Dataset search, we developed guidelines for dataset providers to describe their data in a way that Google (and other search engines) can better understand the content of their pages. These guidelines include salient information about datasets: who created the dataset, when it was published, how the data was collected, what the terms are for using the data, etc. We then collect and link this information, analyze where different versions of the same dataset might be, and find publications that may be describing or discussing the dataset.

I’m always a little wary of dataset search engines. They never seem to live up to their promises, because they always require that those with the data do a little bit of work, such as publish metadata that makes indexing easier. But this is Google. I’ll have to give it a go the next time a curiosity pops in.