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General Help for CDC WONDER


What is CDC WONDER?

CDC WONDER: Information and Communication

Welcome to CDC WONDER -- Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research -- an easy-to-use, menu-driven system that makes the information resources of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) available to public health professionals and the public at large. It provides access to a wide array of public health information.

CDC WONDER furthers CDC's mission of health promotion and disease prevention by speeding and simplifying access to public health information for state and local health departments, the Public Health Service, and the academic public health community. CDC WONDER is valuable in public health research, decision making, priority setting, program evaluation, and resource allocation.

CDC WONDER, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an integrated information and communication system for public health. Its purposes are:

  1. To promote information-driven decision making by placing timely, useful facts in the hands of public health practitioners and researchers, and
  2. To provide the general public with access to specific and detailed information from CDC.

With CDC WONDER you can:

  • Access statistical research data published by CDC, as well as reference materials, reports and guidelines on health-related topics;
  • Query numeric data sets on CDC's computers, via "fill-in-the blank" web pages. Public-use data sets about mortality (deaths), cancer incidence, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, vaccinations, natality (births), census data and many other topics are available for query, and the requested data are readily summarized and analyzed, with dynamically calculated statistics, charts and maps.

The data is ready for use in desktop applications such as word processors, spreadsheet programs, or statistical and geographic analysis packages. File formats available include plain text (ASCII), web pages (HTML), and spreadsheet files (Tab Separated Values). All of these facilities are menu-driven, and require no special computer expertise.

Services

CDC WONDER provides the following services:

  • Communication:  The wonder.cdc.gov web site provides a single point of access to a wide variety of reports and numeric public health data. The web site is recognized world-wide by the public health community, and widely used in the curriculum of many schools of public health.
  • Data release:  WONDER online databases provide data dissemination, online data query capabilities, analysis, visualization and reporting for public health data collections. CDC programs partner with CDC WONDER to provide external partners and the public with access to their data, in compliance with the CDC data release policy. WONDER's partners include programs throughout CDC and other agencies.
  • Data access:  The WONDER online databases provide data and analysis to support evidence-based assessment of public health programs and population health trends. CDC WONDER also includes the CDC Scientific Data archives, a collection of scientific datasets and documentation produced by CDC.
  • Software: 
    • WONDER web application:  WONDER system software is available for use by public health programs and agencies. This public domain software is intended for open platform operation. The end user is a "thin" client (HTML and internet connectivity). The web application is developed in Java, XSL and XML. The data server must support standard SQL queries, and may use either flat or relational tables. Legacy data values are permissible, because the design supports the translation of values via the metadata tables.
    • WONDER web service:  All WONDER online databases available via the WONDER web application software are accessible for automated web service data queries via the WONDER API for XML document exchange. This functionality supports the development of widgets or data mining. See WONDER API for more information.
  • Web hosting: CDC WONDER hosts web applications developed by other CDC agencies on the wonder.cdc.gov web site, and provides server support on a platform with Certification and Accreditation status.
To learn more about our services, please contact us.


How to Use CDC WONDER

System Overview

CDC WONDER presents you with an array of health related data sets. Each data set can be queried using a series of menus.

Document collections, such as CDC Prevention Guidelines, are presented in a topic list or table of contents. In some cases, a full text search option is available as well.

Statistical databases are presented in a series of "fill in the blanks" request forms. You fill in the forms to specify the criteria for your data request, and then send the request to be processed. The results of your query are usually returned within seconds. If the system is delayed processing your request, however, some queries allow you to retrieve your results later, or you can have them e-mailed to you.

When you receive your results in CDC WONDER, you can view them online and then, if you desire, save them on your personal computer so that you can load them into another program. For example, you can generate charts or maps of your data, and paste these images into word processor documents or presentations. If you request numeric data, you may wish to load the data into a spreadsheet or statistical analysis program. You can do so by clicking the "Export" button to generate a tab separated file for download. Some software support the ability to paste rows copied from the table displayed in the web page.

Please refer to Data Sets and Documentation for more information.

System Requirements

The CDC WONDER home page is located on the world wide web at http://wonder.cdc.gov/. Specific pages and forms within WONDER are linked to from many other sites on the web.

Most of CDC WONDER will work with most web browsers. To fully use CDC WONDER, however, you need a browser with Java Script enabled. WONDER works with Internet Explorer version 6 and above, and with the current version of Firefox (1.5 or above).


Data Sets and Documentation

CDC WONDER is a powerful tool for retrieving and analyzing public health data. Before using any data set, we urge you to review the detailed data set documentation to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the nature and limitations of the data sets. If you have any questions regarding a CDC WONDER data set, please contact CDC WONDER Customer Support.

Brief summaries of the content of all CDC WONDER data sets are available here and from the CDC WONDER home page.

Comprehensive documentation for a given data set is available in the online help under each data set's request screen.

Querying Data Sets

CDC WONDER presents you with an array of health related data sets. Each data set is queried using a series of menus. The array of data sets available through CDC WONDER changes over time as CDC works to make new data sources available and as problems are encountered and resolved.

Document collections, such as CDC Prevention Guidelines, are presented in a topic list or table of contents. In some cases, a full text search option is available as well. These documents are pre-formatted and organized on the WONDER web site so that you can access them instantly.

Statistical databases are presented in a series of "fill in the blanks" request forms. You fill in the forms to specify the criteria for your data request, and then send the request to be processed. Behind the scenes, your request is forwarded the appropriate database server on the CDC network.

Each data request form provides an entry allowing you to label or describe the query. This description appears on the results page that is returned, and is also used as the default filebame, should you "export" your data results to a tab-delimited file for download.

Exporting Data

When you receive your results in CDC WONDER, you can view them online and then, if you desire, save them on your personal computer so that you can load them into another program.

If you retrieved a text document, for example, you may wish to load it into a word processor. You can do so by using the "File" and "Save As" buttons on your browser to save it as an ASCII text or html file, and then loading the file into your word processor.

If you requested numeric data, you may wish to load the data into a spreadsheet or statistical analysis program. The online databases show the "Export" button above the data results. Click on this button to download a tab delimited file. Refer to Data Export Help for more information about importing the data into other applications.

Contacting CDC WONDER User Support

For support and technical assistance with CDC WONDER, or to share your ideas and opinions, click here to contact our customer support team. Links to contact us appear at the top and bottom of most WONDER pages. When reporting a problem, be as specific as possible, and try to describe the steps you took prior to encountering the error. Also, note any error messages you received from CDC WONDER or from your Web browser. It may be necessary for the support representative to attempt to recreate the error so be as detailed as possible.


Acknowledgments

The computer programs that make up CDC WONDER were created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. All data are provided by CDC offices or other agencies.

Collaborators

We are very grateful to our "founding fathers," Andrew Friede, MD, MPH, Patrick O'Carroll, MD, MPH, Howard W. Ory, MD, MSc, and Joseph Reid, PhD for providing the system's original guiding vision and for their continuing mentorship. Special thanks to Jerry G. Gentry and William A. Norman for collaborating on mainframe database and communications systems, and Mike Cox and Kenneth McKneely for collaborating on Wide Area Network communications systems.

We are indebted to our colleagues in every part of CDC who made data available to us, and who collaborated in screen and report designs for their data sets. Grateful acknowledgment is given for the contribution of our earliest users, largely Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers, who have made hundreds of thoughtful suggestions that have been incorporated into the system. Dan Peterson and Richard Sun contributed greatly to our early development. We would especially like to thank our colleagues at the INPHO project: David A. Ross and Edward Baker Jr. for their collegiality.

Current Team Members
Sigrid Economou Bill Parks          Mark Puckett
     

Past Contributors and Team Members
(gone but not forgotten...)
Jo Altman Vincent T. Alvarez Rick Anderson
Marrietta Barral Darrell Bauer George Blanchard
Barbara Boyett Patricia Brindley Fernando Brown
Anne Cauley Robb Chapman Alex Charleston
Linda Cleveland John Cottrell Tim Coutu
Jennifer Davis Anna DeStefano Shannon Dewitt
Boris Donald Earnestine Dooley Greg Digsby
Connie Dorner John Dyer Steve Einbender
Robert Evans Robert Fagan Bob Flesch
Howard Frazier Angela Freeman Ricky Freyre
Raymond Frigola Jodi Glacer Juedienne Gordon
Ray Green Fred Guthrie Miranda Hall
Jimmy Hammond Ryan Haygood Brett Headley
Heitzso Jeffrey R. Hermann Harry Holden
Natalie Huet, MPH Dee Hughes Nancy Hughes
Gidado-Yisa Immanuel Scott Janes Angela Jarrad
Tracie M. Jones Troy Jordan Craig Kassinger
Susan Kerht Joan Kennedy Carol Knowles
Bryan Korff Lew Levy Cheri Gatland-Lightner
Kenneth S. Lightner Tracy Lin Kenneth Long
Matt Lupo John Macke Lee Maddox
Michael Micco Mike Molinari Myra Montalbano
Fran Moore Lee Nadelman Evelyn Olagundoye
Veer Pawate Lesley Peters Ron Peterson
Sujitra Priest Michele Renshaw Barry Rhodes
Daniel Rosen Jerry T. Sanders Lois Starr
Robert Thralls Bryant Upton Ed Weber
Susan M. Wilkin Johann Michael Wood Dianne Wylie




This page last reviewed: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
This information is provided as technical reference material. Please contact us at cwus@cdc.gov to request a simple text version of this document.