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The Future of the Open Data Catalog

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The World Bank launched in April 2010, with over 2,000 World Development Indicators. Since its launch over two years ago, you can now find datasets that include Climate, Projects & Operations, Microdata, Finances and many other topics. As more data become available and a growing and diverse audience begins to use it, we have identified a set of priorities to manage this growth sustainably.

One essential piece of this strategy involves the World Bank’s open data catalog. What began as a modest collection of data resources has expanded to include over 90 data sets, APIs, over 8,000 indicators, and even other data catalogs. As it has grown, it’s become increasingly important that we make the catalog more technologically capable, but also more user friendly, readable and understandable.

What are we proposing?

Fully searchable.  The new data catalog will be fully searchable, both through full text search (like conventional search engines) and faceted search. That allows users to find datasets much more quickly, and filter results by categories such as data type, format, or coverage.

Federated. The current data catalog includes many different World Bank open data catalogs, such as Finances and Projects, but not the data sets they contain. The new data catalog will allow you to search multiple World Bank open data catalogs from a single location.

User friendly.  We are looking at making several improvements to the catalog’s user interface to make it easier to read and navigate, with improvements such as sortable columns and shortcuts to data query tools.

Better metadata.  More comprehensive and easier to read metadata, including a data catalog API and support for multiple languages, which will be phased in over time.

Expandable and scalable.  Support for additional data types, larger datasets, and greater numbers of datasets.


Moving forward

We would really value input from users as we take this work forward.  What could be improved? What works well and  what doesn’t work so well in the current catalog?  Have we missed any features that are important to you? Please let us know what you think – please leave a comment, or email us directly at


*Edit: Bruno Sanchez A Nuno shares his thoughts on our plans on his blog.



Alison J. Kwong

Development Data Consultant

Tim Herzog

Senior Data Scientist

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