Bad Data: real-world examples of how not to do data

We’ve just started a mini-project called Bad Data. Bad Data provides real-world examples of how not to publish data. It showcases the poorly structured, the mis-formatted, and the just plain ugly.

This isn’t about being critical but about educating—providing examples of how not to do something may be one of the best ways of showing how to do it right. It also provides a source of good practice material for budding data wranglers!

Bad Data: ASCII spreadsheet

Each “bad” dataset on gets a simple page that shows what’s wrong along with a preview or screenshot.

We’ve started to stock the site with some of the better examples of bad data that we’ve come across over the years. This includes machine-unreadable Transport for London passenger numbers from the London Datastore and a classic “ASCII spreadsheet” from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We welcome contributions of new examples! Submit them here.