Who runs the Milwaukee Community Database?

The database is a collaborative project between the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. The project director is Matt Richardson, CEO/Visioneer at SmartWave Consulting and the founder of the Milwaukee Data Initiative.

What is the purpose of the database?

The database, which is searchable and sortable, makes it much easier for journalists, academics and nonprofits with or without a technical background to find and analyze the information they need to report, research and advocate for action on poverty and related issues in Milwaukee. No other such data repository exists in Milwaukee.

Who funded the launch of the database?

The database was developed with grant funding from the Online News Association and the Marquette Strategic Innovation Fund. Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service is a project of United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee.


What is 'data'?

Data can mean a lot of things, but for us the word 'data' means information that is easily readable by both software and humans. That's why we consider comma separated value (CSV) and spreadsheet (XLS) files to be data, and PDFs are not.

What kind of data are you putting in the poverty database?

We're looking for tabular data that does not contain personally identifiable information (de-identified). That means data that is in a 'table' format, organized in rows and columns. Data will not be aggregated in the database; it will be in a form where users can easily distinguish each individual case and how that case contributes to the whole.

What do I do if I need data that isn't here?

Please submit a request through the 'Request a Dataset' button at the top right of your screen. Tell us what you're looking for and we'll do our best to go out and get it.

What do I do if I have data that I want to contribute?

First, you must be assigned as an admin to an organization. If your organization does not already exist in our list, let us know and we can add it for you. Once you are a registered admin, you can upload datasets for that organization. Whether it's police service calls, ACT scores or numbers of incarcerated individuals, people come to us for that information, and you can help provide it.

What is a dataset?

A dataset is a collection of readable data files, sometimes containing historical data. For example, a dataset might consist of ACT scores by school, parking meter locations, police calls for service, or property sales data. The dataset may contain a data dictionary that explains the data fields and 'meta' information such as descriptions, tags or topics. We tend to group datasets by the type of information included; for example, Education, Health and Human Services or Property and Housing.

What's the difference between a dataset and a tool?

A dataset is a collection of data files; a tool is what is created from that raw data. Tools may be maps, reports, apps, web sites or visualizations; datasets contain the actual, raw information that powers the tools.

Some datasets have an icon that indicates it is from an authoritative source. What does that mean?

'Authoritative' datasets are those owned and uploaded by a trusted source, such as the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, the U.S. Government or academic institutions.

What is an organization?

An organization is the entity responsible for the accuracy of the data in a dataset, and is usually the provider of the data files. If you have an issue or question about a specific dataset, you can either contact the organization directly, or contact us via our contact form.

How do I create a dataset?

First, you will need to register for a free account or log in. Visit the Datasets page and click the 'Create Dataset' button. Type in your information, upload or link to your data files and then save.

What do I do if I have a problem?

If you run into a problem with the site, have questions about data or want to know more, use the contact form or reach out to our programming partner, the Milwaukee Data Initiative, via its Meetup site or Twitter.