1407.0.55.002 - ABS.Stat Beta: Web Services, User Guide  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/10/2016   
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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what datasets are available to download?

How do I know what the dimensions/dimension members are and their respective codes for a particular dataset?

Why does my query fail or return an error message?


How do I know what datasets are available to download?

You can return a complete list of all the datasets available to download in ABS.Stat via the SDMX-XML API. Simply call the following URL: http://stat.data.abs.gov.au/restsdmx/sdmx.ashx/GetDataStructure/all. A complete list of all datasets codes and corresponding labels will be returned.

You can also use the SDMX-JSON Query Builder user interface (http://stat.data.abs.gov.au/sdmx-json) to quickly see a complete list of datasets available for download via a drop-down menu.

If you are using the SDMX Web Service; a complete listing of dataset IDs available can be retrieved via building a Dataset Structure Definition query message with no 'Key Family' metatags. Through calling the GetDataStructureDefinition web service and passing the DSD query message, a DSD output with a complete listing of datasets will be returned.


How do I know what the dimensions/dimension members are and their respective codes for a particular dataset?

You can return a complete list of all the dimensions and dimension member codes for any given dataset by requesting the Dataset Structure Definition (DSD) via the SDMX-XML API. The call to return the DSD for any dataset is: stat.data.abs.gov.au/restsdmx/sdmx.ashx/GetDataStructure/<dataset ID>. Simply replace <dataset ID> with the dataset identifier (eg. CPI).

You can also generate a DSD call automatically for any given dataset by opening that dataset in the ABS.Stat web browser interface, selecting Export - SDMX (XML) and copying the "SDMX Data Structure Definition URL".

If you are using the SDMX Web Service, you can submit a Dataset Structure Definition query message with a specific dataset ID. A list of dimensions and its associated dimension members are returned. In the below example (extract from CPI DSD) the ‘CodeList’ is the identifier for the dimension ‘Region’ (can be verified via the ‘Concept ID’ located further down in the DSD) and the ‘Code Value’ is the identifier for dimension member’s i.e. code value of 1 = Sydney

<CodeList id="CL_CPI_LOC" agencyID="ABS">
<Name xml:lang="en">CPI_LOC codelist</Name>
<Code value="1">
<Description xml:lang="en">Sydney</Description>
<Description xml:lang="fr">1</Description>
</Code>
<Code value="2">
<Description xml:lang="en">Melbourne</Description>
<Description xml:lang="fr">2</Description>
</Code>
<Code value="3">
<Description xml:lang="en">Brisbane</Description>
<Description xml:lang="fr">3</Description>
</Code>

Why does my query fail or return an error message?

System time-out
There is a 10 minute session time limit for users to download datasets from the SDMX Web Service. So any requests that require more than 10 minutes to download will result in a "500 - Internal server error." error message being returned to the user's application. Users should reduce the number of dataset variables requested i.e. rather requesting data from year 1900 to year 2012, request data from year 2000 to year 2012. Should users require large amounts of data, try making multiple small SDMX requests to retrieve the data needed.

Large datasets that users should be aware of and customise queries accordingly are: BA-GCCSA, BA-SA2, HF, IIP_DSID5671, LF, MECH_EXP, MECH_IMP, NRP7.


URL character limit
The maximum number of characters allowed in a URL is 1,000. If your URL is over this limit you may need to make multiple calls to request the data you require. Alternatively if you want to call all members of a dimension you can simply delete all Data Item codes from the string which will return all data by default. Further information is provided on the Developer API and SDMX-XML API pages.