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Brandon Hofstedt

Community indicators are increasingly gaining popularity within the community of science, among practitioners, and by the broader public. Currently, there are a number of attempts across the United States and elsewhere to organize, analyse and share important community level data. In this chapter, I describe the work underway by the Center for Rural Communities at Northland College related to the Northwoods Quality of Life (NWQoL) database. NWQoL is comprised of a collection of primary and secondary data and focused on overall quality of life in rural communities. I begin with a brief introduction to social indicators projects, followed by an account of specific community and county level indicator projects underway in the United States. I then turn my attention to rural communities and highlight NWQoL focusing on its conceptual framework, geographic scope, technical organization and data collection processes. I end the chapter by discussing the ultimate use and purpose of a database.