With the sheer scale and range of digital information available today, it’s no surprise that data journalism is one of today’s growing sectors today. But the problem is that not only the average Joe or Jane, but also journalists are generally unaware of these treasure troves of information.
Let’s try to see what databases of information about Armenia we can find online. We will focus especially on those that are not as well known.
It’s clear that we can find a great amount of information in the websites of state departments and ministries. But I want to point out the lesser known Armenian government site e-gov.am, which contains huge amounts of interesting information about the work of Armenia’s government.
Here, one can find an interactive budget with detailed expenses, procurement made by a single source, the disclosure of financing of non-commercial state organizations, and so on. Working alongside this system is the judiciary portal.
The National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia has the website that is the most saturated with data, containing a diverse array of statistics on Armenia.
Many, of course, use this site (though the number of daily visits is only 700–800), but two other sites adjacent to this one remain obscure: one is Armdevinfo.am, and the other, Armstatbank.am. Both offer tools to work with the figures provided by the statistical service.
Apart from these, one can get statistical data on Armenia from the websites of foreign and international organizations.
Quite well known is the US Central Intelligence Agency’s depository of data on different countries, called the World Factbook. But in using this information one has to consider that some of the information on Armenia, just as in the case of other countries, is outdated, and sometimes the source is vague (it’s unclear on what the agency, in providing the data, bases its information).
The Online Data Analysis software allows one to find information by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) on Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The data is acquired through public opinion polls conducted in the three South Caucasus countries and is gathered and organized according to year (the 2012 figures will be on the site soon).
There are also databases with more specialized data; for example, the World Food Programme offers graphical data on prices of food in Armenia, while the World Health Organization offers its own specialized data on Armenia.
Google, in turn, offers a public database where one can find data also on Armenia and, which is very important, can make that data visual. For example, the graph on Armenia’s population growth also includes forecasts for the future.
In fact, there are many more of these types of databases. But in using them, one must not forget that blindly trusting the data is not always justified. For example, based on the World Health Organization’s figures, it would seem that alcohol consumption in Armenia is much greater than in Russia or Ukraine.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.