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 a 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 territory, using the geographic filter
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 geographic filter¶
The geographic filter is configured by the administrators of the domain.
It is optional, which means that it may not be available in all Opendatasoft domains.
The available territories that can be selected with the geographic filter may not be the same from one Opendatasoft domain to another. On some domains, the geographic filter may focus on specific groups of territories whereas other domains might allow filtering across the entire world.
Under the search bar is displayed the geographic filter, 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 territory selected with the filter and the geographic coverage metadata set for all available datasets. The catalog will be filtered to only display those matching datasets.
Datasets for which the geographic coverage metadata has not been set cannot be found when using the geographic filter.
To make a geographic search:
Click on the mini map to activate the geographic filter.
Navigate the available territories until a chosen one has been reached and chosen as filter. The territories are ordered hierarchically, by administrative divisions. Some options are available in the geographic filter to help navigating through the administrative divisions:
"Back to..." allows to go back one step higher in the hierarchy.
"Go to..." allows to skip an administrative division and directly go one step lower in the hierarchy.
When more than 5 territories are available for selection, a search bar is displayed for textual searches in the current administrative division.
Using the selectable filters¶
Under the geographic filter 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:
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, Switzerland, Sweden and Spain).
Exploring a dataset from the catalog¶
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 quick links (see Looking up a dataset for more information about dataset information & visualizations).