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A repository for curriculum generated by the Data Equity for Main Street project

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Data Equity for Main Street

Are you interested in learning about open data or teaching about open data to your community? The Data Equity for Main Street project has developed curriculum to promote open data literacy by training librarians and community members how to find, use and give feedback about open data. This is a joint project of the California State Library and the Washington State Office of Privacy, and was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

To develop this curriculum, we brought together public and academic librarians in California and Washington State with civic technologists and state government leaders in education and technology. After developing the initial curriculum, we trained librarians across our two states and pilot-tested the curriculum over two years at more than 20 public and academic libraries in the two states.

The newest version of the curriculum is online and interactive. It is built for both learners and instructors. Learners can use it in a self-paced environment. Instructors can use it in front of a class, and personalize the content using editable worksheets. The original version of the curriculum (mainly in powerpoint) is still available (see below).

The curriculum comprises four classes covering open data basics, metadata, visualization, feedback and engagement with open data publishers. The curriculum is designed for the general public and assumes no previous experience with open data; it can also be used for other audiences, such as library staff or government agencies. Many libraries that have already used the curriculum have shared their flyers and outreach strategies. These are included below. If you would like to add your materials, just let us know!

This curriculum is free for anyone to use and modify, as best suits your audience.

Questions or feedback? Contact the Data Equity Team

Online Curriculum

Course 1 Learn the definition of open data, determine whether or not datasets meet open standards, brainstorm questions that could be answered with open data, and learn how to find data offered at the local, state, and federal levels.

Course 2 Learn how to determine the quality of the data you are studying and learn about search strategies that will help you use open data to answer questions.

Course 3 Review different types of data visualizations and create your own chart and map.

Course 4 Learn more about analyzing data and also how to help shape the future of open data through advocacy and by providing feedback to data providers.

Video: What is Open Data?

As part of this project, our team created a short video that describes what open data is and how people use it in their lives. It's included in the curriculum, but you can also watch it here.

What is open data?

Using GitHub

You can retrieve the curriculum and other materials in this repository one of two ways -- by using the links below, or by making a copy of ("forking") this GitHub repository to your own GitHub account. If you're new to GitHub, visit the GitHub guides to learn more about getting started with GitHub and "forking" projects.

Marketing Materials

Flyers (Examples)

Sample Open Data Used in Course

Evaluation Forms

Data Equity recommends using an electronic survey form for your evaluations, such as Google Forms, to organize and track responses. We also strongly recommend incorporating time for evaluation into each class, just before wrapping up.

Thank you!

We are incredibly grateful to our partners who helped create and provided feedback over the course of this project! (We're very fortunate that in many cases more than one person from an organization helped with this project. We'll be updating this soon with a list of everyone's names and affiliations.)

Older Materials (Used by Alpha and Beta Testing Groups)

Please note that much of this material has been updated in the online course. However, you may use or modify any of the original materials if it is helpful.


These are slides our team originally created for teaching this course. There are some differences in content between these slides and the online course, mainly in response to feedback from alpha and beta testers. Some instructors may wish to pull certain slides, particularly the ones designed to support localized content, and use them in their classes.


These are handouts our team created for the alpha and beta testers. Handout 2 and 5 are included in the online course as well as several other handouts that are new to the online version.

Treasure Hunts (Handout 3)

(Please note that these have been updated in the new curriculum (Course 2) and renamed "search strategies." In the online version, instructors and participants have the option to work within the curriculum, or view/download/print a copy of the scenario and the suggested search strategy.

Backgrounders for Instructors

These handouts were originally created to provide instructors additional grounding in open data issues and provide help finding local examples of open data success stories.


A repository for curriculum generated by the Data Equity for Main Street project







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