Data rescue

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Data rescue is a name for both a movement among scientists, researchers and others and the processes they use to preserve primarily government-hosted data sets, often scientific in nature, to ward off their removal from publicly available websites. While the concept of preserving federal data existed before, it gained new impetus with the election in 2016 of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The concept of harvesting and preserving federal web pages began as early as 2008, at the conclusion of President George W. Bush's second term, under the name "End of Term Presidential Harvest."[1]

Soon after Trump's election, scientists, librarians and others in the U.S. and Canada—fearing that the administration of Trump (who had expressed doubts about the validity of the scientific consensus on the existence of climate change [2]) would act to remove scientific data from government websites[3]—began working to preserve that data.

In quick order, the concept of Data Rescue became a grassroots movement, with organized "hackathon" events at cities across the U.S. and elsewhere, often hosted at universities and other institutions of higher education. Among the projects involved are the DataRefuge Project and the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "End of Term Presidential Harvest 2008" University of North Texas Digital Library, retrieved March 4, 2017
  2. ^ Kenny, Caroline "Trump: 'Nobody really knows' if climate change is real" CNN, December 12, 2016, retrieved March 4, 2017
  3. ^ Dennis, Brady "Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump" The Washington Post, December 13, 2016, retrieved March 4, 2017