About Us > Open Government

IMLS Commitment to Open Data

In response to Executive Order of May 9, 2013, Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information, we have:

  1. created an www.imls.gov/data webpage

  2. conducted an internal audit of all available datasets within the agency

  3. created a machine readable data catalog of our datasets

The crucial role government data plays in our society is acknowledged in the IMLS Strategic Plan:

Objective 5.2: Cultivate a culture of planning, evaluation, and evidence-based practice to maximize the impact of public investments.
The use of accurate and reliable data plays a critical role in increasing the transparency and efficiency of IMLS programs and in enhancing the agency’s capacity to gauge program effectiveness. Sharing data with the public and other federal agencies helps to achieve better outcomes for the American public through more accurate evaluation of policy options, improved stewardship of taxpayer dollars, reduced paperwork burdens, and more coordinated delivery of public services. As advances in technology enhance tools for data sharing, IMLS will seek new approaches for identifying and sharing high-value data responsibly and appropriately to inform public policy decisions and improve program effectiveness.

Please watch this webpage to read more about our progress.


IMLS Data Inventory

We have conducted a comprehensive inventory of our programs and information systems to identify all datasets that we produce or collect.  All such datasets, including but not limited to, programmatic and research datasets, are included in our enterprise data inventory.  All datasets in the inventory that can be made publicly available are listed below. 

We will continue to expand, enrich, and open the inventory, as appropriate, on an on-going basis. 

Public Libraries Survey (PLS)
Datasets from the PLS provide national descriptive data on the status of public libraries in the United States & its territories. Data are collected from over 9,000 public library systems with over 17,000 public library outlets. Data are collected annually.

State Library Agency Survey (SLAA)
The SLAA provides descriptive data about state library agencies for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. A state library agency is the official agency of a state that is charged by state law with the extension and development of public library services throughout the state and that has adequate authority under state law to administer state plans in accordance with the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Data are collected annually from 1994 to 2011.

Museums Universe Data File (MUDF)
The MUDF contains information about known museums in the United States using data collected and aggregated from a variety of sources including IMLS administrative data and records, IRS 990 data, Dun & Bradstreet data, and from other Internet listings of museums.

Click here to access our machine readable data catalog (JSON, 61KB)


Customer Feedback

Comments on www.imls.gov/data or the IMLS data inventory should be directed to:

Justin Grimes
Statistician (Agency Point of Contact for data.gov)
Institute of Museum and Library Services
1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC  20036-5802
(202) 653-4647


Data Publication Process

We manage information with the intention to promote openness and interoperability, while safeguarding agency systems and information as appropriate. Our Senior Agency Official for Privacy, and General Counsel,  review all agency datasets to determine, consistent with the OMB Open Government Directive’s presumption in favor of openness,  whether the information can be made publicly available, subject to privacy, confidentiality pledge, security, trade secret, contractual, or other valid restrictions to release. For example, we limit, in accordance with applicable law, sharing information that identifies individuals or that contains proprietary information, and impose appropriate conditions on the use of such information when a continuing obligation to ensure the confidentiality of the information exists. 

Any determination that a dataset should not be made publicly available is documented in consultation with our Office of General Counsel.


Related IMLS Links

IMLS Open Government webpage

IMLS Research -- Data Collection

May 21, 2013 Press Release: IMLS Invites Civic-Minded Techies to Hack Agency Data

March 14, 2013 Press Release: IMLS Director Susan Hildreth Supports Broad Access to Federally Funded Research

February 5, 2013 Press Release: IMLS and Nine International Research Funders Announce Round Three of the Digging into Data Challenge

January 22, 2013 Press Release: IMLS 2010 Public Library Survey Results Announced