What's the difference between databases, datasets and data collections?

A database is a body of data on a particular subject from a particular publisher.  For example:

  • Prices for 1000s of futures contracts from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange: CME
  • Earnings Surprises for 6000 stocks from Zacks Investment Research: ZES
  • Tourism Data for 100s of countries from the United Nations: UTOR

Quandl has over 300 free databases, and a further 20 "premium" databases that are available only to paying subscribers.  

A dataset is a single time series contained within an entire database.  A database is therefore composed of datasets. Here are some examples of datasets found within a database:

 A dataset can have one column -- for example, US GDP -- or it can have many -- for example, AAPL stock open/high/low/close.

Data collections are groups of related datasets or databases on specific subjects, curated by Quandl users.  Here are a few data collections:

You can click through from any data collection to see the underlying datasets and databases.

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