This simple FAQ attempts to answer basic questions we think you may have. If you don't find what you are looking for here or throughout the portal, please let us know so that we can update it as needed.

What is Open Data?

Open data is public data collected by the state through its routine business activities and published in a format that is easy to search, easy to download and easy to combine with other data sets from other sources; it does not include private or confidential data about individuals.

What is the difference between a dataset and a resource in data.ca.gov?

A dataset is a container for resources such as raw data tables, associated data dictionaries and other metadata items.

What is the difference between data and information?

Data are the facts or details from which information is derived. Individual pieces of data is meaningless without context. For data to become information, data needs to be put into context and formatted in a manner that allows it to be understood by a human.

What is an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is software that allows machine to machine communication over the internet. For data, APIs allow apps to read just the data they need directly, without downloading an entire dataset, saving bandwidth and ensuring that the data used is the most up-to-date available.

I'm looking for a dataset that I don't see on the portal. Do you have it?

If it isn't on the data.ca.gov catalog, we may not have the dataset. Make sure to check State Portals for additional state data, and CHHS has a great list of other open data sources that may have what you are looking for. (scroll down to the Portals section)

How do we submit feedback, comments or report potential data issues?

Please e-mail opendata@state.ca.gov