1504.0 - Methodological News, Mar 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/04/2005   
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Over the last 12 months, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has led the development of the National Data Network (NDN). The demonstration phase of the NDN will showcase the benefits of using an open source central data catalogue and distributed network across a number of State and Australian Government agencies. The specific outcomes of this project are:

  • to identify the feasibility of developing a networked system (utilising open source software) to share data and provide on-line statistical services in the government context;
  • to understand the cost to Custodians of implementing and participating in a National Data Network; and
  • to understand the issues associated with the sharing of secure information in accordance with the policy of each agency.

The demonstration phase of the network consists of a central hub that communicates with individual "nodes". Each "node" is a system loaded to an agency's web sit to manage the metadata and data that they have exposed. A node provides a local catalogue of an agency's metadata and data sources available through the NDN. The metadata will draw on international schema's and also contain information about the access procedures and protocols attached to each data source. The node software will automatically update the central catalogue about changes to the metadata and data available. The demonstration phase of the network will also promote the availability of web based data services.

The demonstration phase of the network's initial release occurs in April 2005, when the NDN central hub and the ABS node become available to the public. Initially, the ABS proposes to expose basic community profiles and a range of transport data to the network.

A number of agencies will release nodes over the next 9 months. It is anticipated that approximately twelve government agencies will participate in the demonstration phase of the National Data Network.

A number of principles, procedures and protocols are being developed to support the delivery of consistent and accessible data across the network. Some of these principles relate to security, metadata and commitment to the NDN initiative.

The National Data Network Web Site provides an overview of the NDN, including current development news and discussion forums to promote open feedback about the principles and procedures being developed to support the initiative. The National Data Network web site is www.nationaldatanetwork.org.

For further information , please contact Michael Meagher on (02) 6252 6325.

Email michael.meagher@abs.gov.au