Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this catalog different than the Open Data Catalog?

The Open Data Catalog lists all data adhering to the Open Data terms of use. This catalog lists all Open Data and other publicly available data disseminated through World Bank sites, but may have some restrictions on use.

For non Open Data datasets, how does one know what these restrictions are?

Each dataset is tagged with a terms of use which provides details on these restrictions.

What are the various licenses used in the Data Catalog?

The World Bank Group makes data available using a combination of licenses based on the Access to Information policy. As much as possible, we distribute data according to open data standards and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY 4.0). Many datasets are also available under other licenses. For more details, check the License page.

What are the data types in the Data Catalog?

The common data types are:

  1. Geospatial or GIS data has explicit geographic positioning information included within it, such as a road network from a GIS, or a geo-referenced satellite image. Geospatial data may include attribute data that describes the features found in the dataset. There are two types of geospatial data - vector and raster. Examples of geospatial data are: satellite imagery, shape files, vector & raster data, geo-referenced environmental, agricultural, hydrological data, and so on.
  2. Microdata, Survey data. All these data are also available in the World Bank Microdata Library central repository for survey and other microdata. Examples of survey or microdata are: household surveys on income or demographics, health, education, labor, enterprise surveys, project/impact evaluation surveys, etc.
  3. Time Series Macro-data are aggregate figures at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels on social and economic indicators. These data can be a time-series of a sequence of data points about an indicator, over a continuous time interval, using equal spacing between every two consecutive measurements. An indicator is a measurable variable e.g. forest coverage, labor force participation rate for women, consumer price index, infant mortality rate, etc. Examples of time-series data: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annual time-series having one data point for each year over a multi-year time span; Currency exchange rate per U.S. Dollar daily time-series, recorded at the end of each day for a 30-day period.
  4. Others Any dataset not fitting into any of the above data types are classified as Others.

Are all datasets in Data Catalog "Open" and freely shareable?

No. Depending on the agreement with the data providers, some datasets may have restricted access.

How is Data Catalog different from Microdata Library and the Data Bank?

Data catalog provides a single point of access to all publicly available data through World Bank sites. Microdata Library lists all survey data and administrative records, Data Bank provides access to time series data

Who owns the datasets listed in the catalog? Do they belong to the World Bank Group(WBG)?

Not all datasets listed in the catalog are owned by the WBG. Data ownership and terms of use are determined by agreements between the parties responsible for creating and maintaining the dataset. Data ownership is an important consideration in the catalog, and is reflected in each dataset's metadata. The World Bank does not endorse or verify the content of datasets owned by other organizations. Our choice to list external datasets in our catalog depends on our assessment regarding the relevance of the datasets to issues pertinent to international development.

Where can I get more details on Catalog?

If you have any questions or would like more details please email