I have collected information about a public school district in the U.S. I have obtained some of it through FOIA. Some of it was obtained from the district's website previously, although it is no longer available there.

I want to ask a question about where would be a good place to publish it online, and have been trying to figure out which StackExchange site would be appropriate. I think maybe here would be good, but I'm not sure, because I'm not sure if the information I have collected is an example of Open Data.

Examples of the information I have collected:

  • The district's Technology Plan, submitted to and approved by the state.

  • The district's biannual special education report, submitted to and approved by the state.

One would have thought the district would have published these things on its website, but it hasn't.

1 Answer 1


Data obtained through FOIA is open data. Before it was attained, I would argue that it is not, as it was not being released.

Data previously published on a government website was and still is in the public domain and open data. There maybe tiny exceptions here regarding privacy issues, etc., so think through what you are going to republish, but again, it is almost always open data and is ok to republish.

The Wayback Machine and archive.is (and other archives) are a virtual treasure trove of this kind of data. Particularly around websites that publish data in HTML, but also very useful for finding old documents and in some great cases, entire databases, etc.

How would you publish this data on a stack exchange site? I'm confused by that part.
You can publish that data any which way you see fit; here are some options for you:

Publish it on the Open Data Stack Exchange datahub.io portal.
Publish it on data.world. (You can bring up your thoughts about how to organize the various reports with data.world, they're very interested in what users want/need, etc.) Publish it on Google Drive (make sure you click share with all).
Publish it GitHub.

  • 1
    What about the report the district put on its website previously, but has now taken down (because it revamped its website, and didn't transfer everything to the new website)? // I don't propose to publish it at SE. I wanted to ask a separate question but you beat me to the punch! // data.world looks interesting but I wish there were ways of organizing related items. When I choose "education" I just get a big long list. Jan 28, 2017 at 0:51
  • i'm confused about your question regarding previously published data that is no longer being published, if you don't mind clarifying. but in general, if it was online once, it is public domain and you can re-publish. there are a plethora of datasets like this saved in archives like the wayback machine and archive.is. you should bring up your thoughts with data.world, they're very interested in what users want/need, etc.
    – albert
    Jan 28, 2017 at 1:18
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    I'd be happy to clarify. The district had, for example, a Response To Intervention protocol published on its website, and then a few years ago it made a new website and didn't get around to putting the RTI protocol on it. Does that help? // I will try your idea. Jan 28, 2017 at 1:56
  • yes that clarifies it, thanks. my answer in the previous comment applies here. post away.
    – albert
    Jan 28, 2017 at 2:04
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    I think you should add some of the information in the comments to the answer. When everything is put together, my question has its answer. Jan 28, 2017 at 2:11

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