Luxembourg on a shoestring - 2008 METIS Work Session on statistical metadata
METIS is a joint UNECE/Eurostat/OECD initiative on statistical metadata, which promotes the implementation of metadata systems in national statistical offices. METIS maintains a Common Metadata Framework intended to provide guidance to NSOs in choosing the right standards, models and approaches in developing their metadata systems. It also facilitates collection, discussion and dissemination of best practices in the field of statistical metadata focusing on the role of metadata in the corporate management of statistical activities, and practical implementations.
Together with the OECD and Eurostat, the UNECE organises a work session on statistical metadata every two years. In April this year, the three organisations held the METIS 2008 conference in Luxembourg. The conference was attended by about 72 participants, from the national statistical agencies of over 30 different countries.
Several ABS Data Management staff also attended the conference via a video conferencing link. While the time difference with Luxembourg (currently eight hours behind Australia) meant late nights for the participants at this end, it did allow more ABS staff to participate than would have been possible if a representative had been sent.
About a month prior to the conference, UNECE collected case studies from statistical agencies, who described their experiences with developing and implementing statistical metadata systems. These case studies were presented by each country at the conference, along with presentations around topics such as the Common Metadata Framework, Metadata Common Vocabularies, and the implementation of SDMX and ISO 11179-based registries.
The ABS case study outlined the history of metadata use in the ABS over the past 15 years. It included the beginning of metadata, and creation of the early data dictionaries, through to current and future planned projects in Data Management, which will enhance the use of common metadata frameworks throughout ABS.
The development of common metadata frameworks is important to the effectiveness and efficiency of statistical operations, in particular the quality and comparability of the statistical outputs. Most applications previously developed in the ABS were isolated applications, resulting in multiple instances of underlying metadata needing to be captured, registered, stored and validated throughout statistical lifecycles and across different ABS areas. The introduction of a more standard use of common metadata means better support for end-to-end facilities in the statistical infrastructure.
The ABS presented its case study via the Video Conference link and received very positive feedback. There was a lot of interest in the current and planned work, particularly the "2020 Vision", a paper currently being developed to encapsulate the longer term ABS aspirations for metadata.
Overall, those who participated in the video conference sessions found the conference to be very stimulating, with staff able to compare ABS with other international statistical agencies, as well as to gain new ideas and perspectives on metadata implementation initiatives.
For more information, contact Simon Wall on (02) 6252 6300, or access the following websites: