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Data Visualization: Reliable Data Sources

Data Sources

Data comes from you or from other sources.

If it comes from you, it is from your life, or the numbers you decide to collect in order to study them more closely. Examples include:

  • What are my finishing times in 5K races over the last five years?
  • I am conducting a poll of where people like to go to eat in Charleston.

Data that comes from outside sources can be given to you, downloaded from the web, or harvested from a source. Examples include:

  • What is the educational attainment of people in my neighborhood? (reported in the Census)
  • Your boss wants to know how many people in your company’s database live in the 29414 area. (She gives you access to the company database)

Finding Data Sources

Data Planet
Policy Map
Julia Bauder. (2014). The Reference Guide to Data Sources. ALA Editions.

Select Data Sources

United States


Fact Checking Sites:

Snopes, has come to be regarded as an online touchstone of research on rumors and misinformation.


PolitiFact started in 2007 as an election-year project of the Tampa Bay Times (then named the St. Petersburg Times), Florida’s largest daily newspaper. PolitiFact focused on looking at specific statements made by politicians and rating them for accuracy., is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. It monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.

More sources at: