for users, publishers and sysadmins

Finding data

Whether you know exactly what data you want, or just want to browser, then provides several tools to help.

Search by keyword

On the search page you can click on the search box and type related words (‘keywords’), like for a normal internet search engine.

Search box

When you press Enter or click on the magnifying glass icon, it will return the results.

Search results

You can change the order of the results using the ‘Sort by’ drop-down.

Sort dropdown

Keyword search tips

When using keyword search, you can use advanced operators to enhance your query. The examples below show how you can use those operators.

The full syntax is explained in the Lucene documentation

You can also search specific fields, publisher:cabinet-office res_format:CSV searches only for CSV files published by the Cabinet Office.

Some of the fields that are available to you are listed below:

You can also invert the search by prepending ! to the key. For example, to find all CSV files that are not published by Cabinet Office - !publisher:cabinet-office res_format:CSV

Searching with dates

The metadata_modified and metadata_created fields both expect date ranges. Date ranges should be specified in full ISO 8601 format (such as 1976-03-06T23:59:59.999Z) although some special operators are available, and examples are given below.

Search by publisher

If you know the likely publishing organization, find it in the publisher search.

Publisher search

Click on the publisher name to go through to the publisher’s page.

Publisher page

The publisher’s page lists their most popular datasets or you can try the search box. If you want to do the more advanced search, just click on the magnifying glass icon without typing any words, and it will take you to the main search page, but filtered for that publisher.

Search icon

Search by location

If you want data that covers a particular part of the UK, you can use the Map Based Search.


It is important to note that although all this search will find many datasets, many other datasets’ location have not been catalogued in, and will not show up using this method of search. In which case you should also try keyword searches. e.g. for datasets in Salford you might also try searching for ‘Salford’, ‘Birmingham’ or ‘West Midlands’ as well as the using the “Map Based Search”.


You can browse datasets based on a number of criteria such as whether or not it is published, is in the NII or has an OGL licence. These are on the left-hand-side of the search page.


Numbers in brackets denote the number of datasets meeting the criteria (out of the datasets returned for the currently selected search filters). Where criteria overlap, the numbers will add up to more than the total number of datasets. e.g. file formats, because a dataset can have multiple file formats.