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U.S. Government Publications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison : Data

How to find U.S. government publications at University of Wisconsin-Madison libraries.

Data library: Data and Information Services Center (DISC)

Tthe UW-Madison's Data and Information Services Center provides quantitative, numeric microdata for researchers and students conducting secondary analysis in the social sciences. For DISC users not familiar with statistical software, it has an array of data products with menu-based interfaces.

DISC's data holdings includes sets from both governmental and non-governmental (university, research, etc) organizations.

Library guides to datasets

Data from federal government sources

  • Provides public access to high-value, machine readable-datasets generated by the executive branch of the federal government.
  • Also covers some data sets by universities and state governments.
  • Contains
    • descriptions of datasets (aka "metadata")
    • information about how to access the datasets
    • tools that leverage government datasets (aka "apps" developed by citizens)


Data and Statistics from
Provides links to data sources and statistics sources by topic.

Find more data sets through the libraries web site...

List of datasets from the UW-Madison Libraries databases. 


Data Planet Statistical Datasets

  • Available for use in campus libraries, or off-campus use by UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff.
  • Provides access to statistical information produced by U.S. federal agencies, states, private organizations, and major intergovernmental organizations.
  • Information available in tabular and graphical form; tables and graphs can be reformatted in a variety of ways.
  • Requires the downloading of Javascript.

Data & statistics: what's the difference?

How are statistics and data different? The following comparison comes from a presentation by Mike McCaffrey, lecturer at the Faculty of Information of the University of Toronto.


  • “Disaggregated” collection of observations with one or more characteristics
  • Generally require manipulation or extraction using utilities
  • Can be values or observations of characteristics “numerically coded”
  • Raw material for statistics


  • “Aggregated” and tabulated or cross-tabulated tallies based on data
  • Counts, tallies, totals, “averages”
  • Can be found in print or electronically
  • Normally used as they are presented or retrieved
  • “Facts numerically represented”

From: McCaffrey, Mike. “International Statistics: Helping Library Users Understand the Global Community.” Presentation at the American Library Association’s Government Information Round Table Pre-Conference, International Statistics: Helping Library Users Understand the Global Community, Chicago, IL, June 28, 2013.

For additional statistical resources, see the list of statistics databases provided by the UW-Madison Libraries.