CultureBlocks incorrect? Make sure your data is good.
Last week Tuesday WHYY's Peter Crimmins had a story about a new mapping tool, CultureBlocks.com, which layers economic, artistic, and demographic information for neighborhoods through the city of Philadelphia.
The city's Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy created the site to aggregate data that wasn't previously available in a way that was easy to understand or free to obtain. CultureBlocks is designed to help organizations and the city see how cultural organizations are embedded into neighborhoods to aid revitalization in those parts of town.
It shows public information like which organizations got block grants from the Department of Commerce, where artists are living, which schools are offering art instruction for kids at what income level.
One business owner wrote to us to complain that some of the data available about his organization was incorrect.
To whom it may concern: I'm irate that this Cultureblocks project has published falsified data about my business. Businesses need a way to edit their own listing. I wish to be put in contact with whoever is writing this database asap. Thank you.
In a comment on the article page, someone also objected specifically to the inclusion of sales and employment data pertaining to organizations.
In response, Crimmins wrote back to remind readers:
All the information on CultureBlocks comes from an array of databases gathered and maintained by about 50 public agencies. The CultureBlocks project, itself, neither gathers nor maintains any of the data — it's all pulled from other parties.
Someone from CultureBlocks added in the site comments that "it is up to those partners to clean, maintain, and ensure the accuracy of that data."
We are unable to edit any of the data ourselves. The dataset with which you take issue is published by InfoUSA, whose contact information is available at their website: www.infousa.com. Since they provide this dataset to many organizations — not just CultureBlocks — we encourage you reach out to them directly and address the issue at its root.
We encourage businesses and individuals who have questions about their data to contact the respective dataset provider. The full list of data providers can be found in the CultureBlocks Data Directory.
A follow-up comment indicated that CultureBlocks has since removed sales and employment data sets from its website.
It might be worthwhile for all cultural organizations in the city to use this opportunity to review the public civic data available at CultureBlocks.com to make sure their own records are up to date at various data collecting agencies.