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1504.0 - Methodological News, Sep 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/09/2007   
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Making Quality Visible Update

In the March 2007 edition of Methodological News, we reported on the Making Quality Visible (MQV) initiative that was underway. This article is an update of the progress that has been made in recent months on various aspects of the MQV initiative.

Quality declarations
Quality Declarations (QDs) are statements on the quality of statistical releases that have been written specifically for web-based dissemination. They describe the quality of a statistical release using the six dimensions of the data quality framework adopted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) - relevance, timeliness, accuracy, coherence, interpretability, and accessibility.

In the past few months, the ABS has committed to the creation and release of QDs accompanying statistical products on the web, and planning for implementation is well underway. The first QD will be associated with the second release data of the Census of Population and Housing, and will be released in October 2007. This QD will cover some of the important data quality aspects of the 2006 Census. The release of QDs will occur progressively from January 2008 onwards, with a majority of ABS statistical releases acquiring a QD in 2008.

General information on QDs is available on the ABS website, and supporting information for author areas in the form of a QD User Guide and a 'Reporting Quality in the ABS' course will become available in October.

Electronic Publication and Metadata Vision
The Vision aims to improve the way the ABS communicates data and metadata electronically to facilitate user discovery of information, assessment of fitness for purpose and understanding of the key stories within the data.

Progress has been made in the development of systems to cater for the electronic publication and metadata vision. Various statistical releases have moved towards an electronic magazine (eMagazine) design for the web. This design sees the use of 'chunking' of sections of information with the use of layering to present more detailed information progressively from a link in a previous layer. Releases that have gone the way of the eMagazine design include Australia's System of National Accounts, 5204.0, Qld Stats, 1318.3.

Quality Assistant
A Quality Assistant was released to ABS staff in September 2007. The Quality Assistant, available to staff from the ABS Welcome Page, is a one stop shop for anyone in the ABS trying to find information on quality initiatives in the ABS. The Quality Assistant will provide links to manuals, information on the Quality Infrastructure System, Quality Gates and Quality Measures along with other useful information.

Quality Infrastructure System
To provide ready access to a range of relevant and timely quality measures, the ABS has been developing a Quality Infrastructure System (QIS), an integrated infrastructure that will allow the capture, storage and use of quality measures over the end to end business processes across all ABS data collections. QIS is designed to make quality measures readily accessible for use in quality assurance processes, as well as for reporting on quality and making quality declarations about data.

The end of August saw a major milestone when QIS was released into production as a corporate tool. This first version release of the full production system includes output reporting tools developed using SAS Business Intelligence (BI), and utilises 13 quality measures for economic surveys, which span form response rates, frame quality, measures of accuracy and adjustments to data. The current production version of QIS only has information from ABS Survey Facilities (estimation, imputation and outliering information) for one business survey, the Retail Business Survey. We currently have two other surveys trailing their data in the test version of QIS, with the view to move to production after sufficient testing. The vision is to expand the number of quality measures supported by QIS. The future roll out of QIS to more collections will be tightly linked with the development of quality gates to manage statistical risk, and will be determined in consultation with individual survey areas.

Implementation for population surveys will coordinate with SSG's Business Activity Monitoring system, with the production roll-out due to occur in October 2007.

For more information on this work, please contact Bruce Fraser on (02) 6252 7306 or Narrisa Gilbert on (02) 6252 5283


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