Yesterday we launched the first iteration of the new data catalogue. Purpose: to help you find data more easily.
The new catalogue, now under the menu "Find Data", is in an alpha stage. That is to say, we're still working on some key features (single-click downloads, search bar that autocompletes, and of course a catalogue that works en français). Nonetheless, in its current stage, we think it already feels much more pleasant to use than the old catalogue.
Here's a summary of the enhancements we've already made.
The metadata for each table is now more structured than before. Each entry in the catalogue now has fields specifically designed to describe that entry, like this:
... rather than ad-hoc or hard-coded information, like this:
This means that each product page looks more consistent. It also means that search terms are a little less messy.
Simpler, faster search filters
In the old catalogue, search filters were in many cases difficult to understand. You may have asked yourself, for example, "Am I searching for 'immigrant' or 'immigration'?" or, "Do I want 'immigration' from the list of 'keywords', or the list of 'topics'?" The new catalogue presents fewer search filters, so that you don't end up asking yourself questions like these—at least not as often.
In addition to simpler filters (which we're working on further simplifying) you'll notice that there's no more "Apply" button.
EDIT 2014-05-06: We've temporarily replaced the instant search function and reinstated the Apply button. This is because the AJAX was causing performance-related problems.
As soon as you click on a term, the list of results filters immediately using AJAX. So if you click on Taxfiler (T1FF) - Family Data, you'll see this right away:
... and if you then select 2010, you'll immediately be presented with only 2010 Taxfiler Family Data tables:
To clear your search and start over, select the "Clear your search terms" button.
More sensible arrangement of geographies
CDP acquires data for all of Canada at various geographic scales—census division, census tract, Postal Code, etc. Any table with multiple geographic scales is now listed as one catalogue entry, rather than several. So, if you're looking for the 2006 Census Profiles, instead of seeing this:
... you'll see this:
... from which point, you can select your geographies here:
All catalogue entries now have a picture, which corresponds to its product group. Most pictures are drawn from official sources, but in cases where no pictures were available, we designed our own. As a result, for example, Taxfiler Financial Data and Charitable Donations will have this picture:
... and Census 2011 Language topic-based tabulations will have this picture:
Hopefully this helps you find tables at-a-glance, rather than having to sift through text on its own.
Direct links to externally-hosted data
Lots of data tables are in fact free and hosted externally. The CMHC Market Analysis Centre, for example, is available directly from the source. To view tables like this, you'll see a link in their product page, under the text "Get this data table (hosted externally)".
The link will take you directly to the data in question. Same goes for ENVISION and Beyond 20/20.
Stay tuned for more changes
Over the next few weeks, we'll work on adding additional features, like an autocompleting search bar, one-click downloads, and a functional French-language catalogue. Stay tuned for updates.