When you think about providing access to your data, it’s important to think about the audiences that could use the data itself, but also to those who could use the data products and services generated from them. The users of the data could be those currently interested in your data as well as future users of the data. Keep in mind that there could be several audiences for your data as they move through the entire life cycle. The audiences might reflect various user demographics or various purposes for using the data, and can certainly change over time.

Determining the audiences that use your data can help you identify their needs, and inform the development of your data to meet those needs. Development of the data might include the creation of data products and services that you provide to assist users in using your data. Knowledge of the audiences for your data will help you identify the various products and services that you might offer to current or new user communities, and also help verify that the needs of your users are being met.

Efforts to determine the audiences for your data should continue throughout the entire data life cycle so that you can improve the user experience. Awareness of the initial users of your data can inform the data development process, as well as your plans for disseminating the data and for providing stewardship to manage the data over time. Observations about later users of your data can inform potential improvements for your data, so you can better serve both your current and your future users.

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