As designed:

The tags page is an essential map of what your community is, and is not, about.

The general outline of Open Data's tag landscape right now:

Count TagName          Body                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
----- ---------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
155   data-request     Indicates a hunt for relevant data sources that already are or could be turned into Open Data.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
73    usa              Use for questions related to the United States of America or regions within it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
44    government       For questions about government-related datasets. If relevant, please also specify the country in a separate tag.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
40    api              Application Programming Interface. An interface designed to be queried programmatically.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
31    releasing-data   The act of making data available for others to use. The question might cover legal or technical implications of releasing Open Data.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
26    data.gov         Data.gov provides hundreds of thousands of U.S. government datasets and increases the ability of the public to easily find, download, and use these datasets. Data.gov provides descriptions of the Federal datasets (metadata), information about how to access the datasets, and tools that leverage government datasets. An Open Government initiative for the White House, Data.gov has resources for developers and businesses, and access to local data as well. 
25    tool-request     Indicates a hunt for tools to create or manage Open Data.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
24    best-practice    Best-practice questions generally involve a short guide or tutorial related to an outstanding example of the use or implementation of Open Data principles or practices.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
15    city                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
14    maps             A visual representation of an area-a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
14    census           A comprehensive count of the population.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
12    geospatial       Geospatial pertains to the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features and boundaries on, above, or below the Earth's surface, particularly referring to data that is geographic and spatial in nature.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
12    linked-data      Linked data is data which itself can be referenced to via a URI and links to other data using their URI's.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
12    file-format      For questions regarding file-level packaging of data being discussed, such as comparison of multiple file formats or recommendations of a format.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
10    gis              A geographic information system (GIS), geographical information system, or geospatial information system is any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that are linked to location(s). In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology.                                                                                                                                            
10    wikipedia        Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      `enter preformatted text here`

As I see it, there are several classes of tags:

  • Requests (data, APIs, tools, etc.)
  • Data domains (usa, government, data.gov, city, etc.)
  • Subject areas (maps, census, geospatial, gis, etc.)
  • Process (releasing data, best practice, file format, etc.)

That's not a bad description of what the site seems to be about, but the tags are disorganized. For instance, it's none too clear how questions are divided among , , and . I suspect they should be synonyms in the context of this site.

When I looked at the recent sample of questions, it struck me that many of them are undertagged. Take, for instance, Congressional Record in electronic form, which is tagged . It seems to me that it's a for . It might also be asking for and , but those are ambiguous tags so I can't be sure.

Tagging is the canonical example of a folksonomy, but that doesn't mean we can't define some guiding principles. How should tags be applied on Open Data?


This is a first comment. I will probably update the answer with other as well.

About the tags: , and . I could say that map is related with applications using a map. Something that has already built and not the data per se. For example a question like this one: "Where can I find a map with live car accidents in the world using open data?" The other two tags, I could say that they are synonyms and we should use one or the other.


I just finished a little spring cleaning with regard to our tags.

Currently I see two major problems:

  • There are still (too) many questions that are undertagged and/or mistagged.

  • There are still many tags that have no description, are ambiguous, redundant (like your geospatial example), or keep getting applied the wrong way.

There have been a few discussions in the recent months, but not nearly enough.

I invite everyone who notices problems with tags to fix them, flag them, or ask a new question here on Open Data meta. This needs to be a community effort, and every edit counts :)

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