Navigating the catalog¶
The dataset catalog of an OpenDataSoft portal is accessible from the front office for all users allowed on the portal (i.e. for open portals it could be anyone wheareas for private portals it should be only authenticated users).
On most portals, the catalog is the landing page. However, if the default landing page has been changed to a custom page, the link to the catalog can often be found in the navigation bar at the very top of the front office. Since this navigation bar is fully customizable, the label of the link to access the catalog can be different from one portal to another (very often, “Data”, “Catalog”, “Explore” or “Datasets” are used as labels).
The structure of a dataset catalog remains the same no matter the portal.
On the left side (1), are displayed:
- the number of available datasets,
- a catalog sort option to change the order of the datasets,
- a variety of catalog filters to find specific datasets,
- different possibilities to download the catalog.
On the right side (2), are displayed the datasets. Each dataset is represented by a rectangle called a “catalog card”. On each card, the dataset’s main metadata are displayed, along with quick links to visualize the data.
Sorting the catalog¶
By default, a dataset catalog is sorted by last modification date (i.e. the most recently modified datasets are displayed in first position, at the top of the catalog).
It is possible to change in which order the catalog cards are displayed with the catalog sorting option below the number of datasets, on the left side of the interface.
The catalog can be sorted by a total of 10 methods. These methods are based on 5 sorting criterias, each being available in both increasing and decreasing order.
- Dataset title: to sort the datasets in alphabetical order or reverse alphabetical order
- Modification date: to sort the datasets by most recent or oldest modification date
- Number of records: to sort the datasets by biggest or fewest number of records
- Number of downloads: to sort the datasets by biggest or fewest number of downloads
- Popularity: to sort the datasets from the most or least popular
To modify the sorting method, 2 possibilities:
- Click one of the 3 most popular methods: “Modified”, “Popular”, “A-Z”.
- Use one of the other methods:
Once the new sorting method is chosen, the catalog automatically updates.
Filtering the catalog¶
When navigating a catalog with only a few datasets, it is easy to scroll down and check all the datasets available. But when navigating catalogs with dozens, even hundreds of datasets, scrolling down isn’t an option. As an end-user on an open data portal, the reason for visiting that portal may not be just curiosity. The reason for being on the portal may be for a precise purpose ; to find specific data or to search for data from a specific topic, time period or even geographic area.
For these reasons and more, a variety of filtering options are available, below the number of datasets and the catalog sorting option, on the left side of the interface.
It is possible to filter:
- by textual research, using the search bar
- by geographic area, using the mini map
- by metadata, using the available metadata-based filters
Using the search bar¶
The search bar should be used to make textual searches in the catalog. When doing a textual search, the platform will look for a match between the search and the metadata from all the available datasets (title, description, keywords etc.). The catalog will be filtered to only display those matching datasets.
If there is no match after the textual search, the information “Your search didn’t match any dataset.” will be displayed instead of the catalog cards. Each textual search being recorded, the administrators of an OpenDataSoft portal know about each search without a match. That way, knowing the interests and needs of their end-users, they might publish new datasets in the future to answer these interests and needs.
To make a textual search:
- Click on the search bar area.
- Type the word to search in the datasets.
- Press enter for the search to be taken into account, and the catalog filtered according to the typed word.
It is possible to make more advanced searches with the search bar, using Query language (more info in the Searching the data documentation).
Using the mini map¶
Under the search bar is a mini map that should be used to make geographic searches in the catalog. When doing a geographic search, the platform will look for a match between the geographic area drawn on the mini map and the geographic area metadata set for all available datasets. The catalog will be filtered to only display those matching datasets.
By default, datasets for which the geographic area metadata has not been set cannot be found when doing a geographic search with the mini map. Furthermore, the mini map is only available and displayed on the catalog if at least one of the datasets has this geographic area metadata set.
To make a geographic search:
- Click on the little rectangle button on the top left of the mini map, which is a drawing tool.
- Draw a rectangle on the chosen area of the mini map. The catalog directly updates to only display datasets matching the geographic filter applied.
To cancel a selection, and draw on another area:
- Click on the rectangle button again. The previous shape diseappears.
- Draw a rectangle on the newly chosen area of the mini map. The catalog directly updates to only display datasets matching the geographic filter newly applied.
Using the selectable filters¶
Under the mini map is a list of selectable filters sorted by categories based on the datasets metadata. These filters should be used to filter the datasets by view (visualizations such as Analyze, Map, Calendar etc.), date, publisher, keyword, theme, language, and any other metadata available as filter category. When searching with the selectable filters, the platform will look for a match between the selected values from the filter categories and the values set in the metadata of the available datasets. The catalog will be filtered to only display those matching datasets.
To use the selectable filters:
- Choose a category of filters.
- Under the name of the category of filters are listed values (which are the metadata set for the datasets). Click one of the values. The other values disappear and the catalog directly updates to only display datasets matching the newly applied filter.
For some categories, it can be possible to select more than one value. In this case, after clicking on a value, the others do not disappear. Click on any other value to filter even more.
For other categories, such as “Modification”, the values are sorted in a hierarchical way. It means that the year must be selected first, then the months are displayed. Once the month is selected, the days are displayed in order to be selected as well.
Downloading the catalog¶
Under all the filters are different possibilities to download the catalog. This does not allow to download all of the datasets from the catalog (or the filtered ones), but it allows to download an index of the datasets from the catalog along with their main metadata.
It is possible to download the catalog in the following formats:
- RDF (Turtle)
- RDF (XML)
- RSS feed
Using the OpenDataSoft Search API, it is possible to download the catalog in other formats, such as JSON, data.json but also DCAT-AP (for Germany and Switzerland).
Exploring a dataset from the catalog¶
Once the right dataset has been found in the catalog, through the searching and filtering options or by scrolling down, it should be time to explore this dataset to see the data and their visualizations.
From the catalog interface, only the catalog card of the dataset is displayed. The catalog card should show the following information:
- a pictogram, to represent the theme of the dataset
- the title of the dataset
- the description of the dataset
- the name of the publisher
- the license of the dataset
- the keywords of the dataset
- links to the available visualizations of the dataset (e.g. Table, Map, etc.)
- links to tabs to share or reuse the dataset (e.g. Export, API)
Less information can be displayed: it depends on which metadata have been set before the dataset was published. For the links to the visualizations and tabs of the dataset, more or less can be available: it depends on which visualizations and tabs are available for the dataset.
Note also that the catalog cards can be completely customized by the portal administrators.
To see more of the dataset, either click the catalog card or any of the links to directly access a precise visualization or tab. From the interface dedicated to the dataset, it is possible to:
- visualize the data,
- search the data,
- share and reuse the data,
- react and subscribe to the dataset.