Your guide to choosing a COVID-19 data source

In preparing for this re-launch, I asked a few of my readers what they liked about the COVID-19 Data Dispatch and how it could better serve them. One common answer was that the publication has helped readers navigate the landscape of COVID-19 data sources, and pick the best source for a given story.

The first two resources pages I’ve produced take this service to the next level.

First: The Featured Source List is an upgraded version of the Google spreadsheet I’ve been using to keep track of data sources featured in the newsletter since July. You can use the table to search, sort, and filter all 82 featured sources by their names and categories. The little green plus icons toggle expanded views, with more details on every source. Much friendlier than a spreadsheet!  (Though, if you want to see the raw spreadsheet, it’s still accessible here.)

Second: The Data Source Finder tool tells you exactly where to find the data you need for a given story.  (Or for a Facebook post, or an argument with your friend, and so forth.)  The tool includes detailed annotations on 16 data sources which I consider the primary COVID-19 sources in the U.S.

Here’s how to use it. You start out by selecting the geographic scale on which you’d like to see data (global, U.S. states, counties, or cities), then choose the type of metric you’re looking for. The tool will return your options, including each dataset’s available metrics, methodologies, update schedule, download links, and more.

It’s essentially an interactive flowchart, aimed to make it easy to compare and contrast sources for reporters on deadline and students engaged in Twitter debates alike. You can also find the full set of annotations linked on the page.

While I compiled the annotations, the interactive tool was coded in Twine by my girlfriend, Laura Berry.  Your membership fees will help me buy Laura a nice dinner to thank her for her work.

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