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Data Resources and Support

Support for locating and working with datasets, statistical information, and geographic data.

Purchasing Data Resources

The Woodruff Library purchases data resources as part of its broader collection-development policies. Requests to purchase data resources are handled on a case-by-case basis and are informed by the considerations listed below. For additional information about data collection policies or about purchasing specific resources, feel free to contact Dr. O'Reilly at

NOTE: purchasing data can be a lengthy process, especially in situations where licenses and terms of use need to be negotiated between the library and the data provider. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that such negotiations can be completed in a timely fashion.

Content and Ease of Use: There must be some "value added" in terms of substantive content of the data resource and/or the ease with which the data can be extracted and accessed. For instance, resources consisting of data that are already available through other sources are less likely to be purchased, unless the interface or format of the data is such it makes the data much easier to access.

Geography and Dates: All else being equal, data with greater geographic coverage and/or time coverage are more likely to be purchased.

Formats: Preference is given to data resources that are in formats that can be readily used in statistical software and/or GIS applications or can be readily converted into such formats.

Documentation: There must be clear and comprehensive documentation for the data that explains how the data were collected.

Access: Any data resource that the library purchases or contributes to purchasing must be available campus-wide to any and all students and researchers at Emory University.

Cost: Alas, data often do not grow on trees (though there are exceptions!), so cost is another major consideration. The library will consider jointly funding a data purchase with other units on campus. With such joint purposes, however, any license or terms of use for the data must be consistent with library and university policies.

Confidentiality: Sensitive data, such as data with direct or indirect identifers, will not be purchased by the library.