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Status on the Mapping of Metadata Standards. ISO/IEC 11179, SDMX, and Others. Arofan Gregory, Executive Manager Open Data Foundation, Inc. METIS Meeting, Luxembourg, April 9-11, 2008. Overview. Introduction The Mapping Challenge Status of the Mappings On-Going Work Summary.

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status on the mapping of metadata standards

Status on the Mapping of Metadata Standards

ISO/IEC 11179, SDMX, and Others

Arofan Gregory, Executive Manager

Open Data Foundation, Inc.

METIS Meeting, Luxembourg,

April 9-11, 2008

  • Introduction
  • The Mapping Challenge
  • Status of the Mappings
  • On-Going Work
  • Summary
  • METIS 2006: Several presentations were given addressing some standards mappings
    • Many side-discussions among attendees
  • Standards of note included:
    • ISO/IEC 11179
    • Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX)
    • Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)
    • ISO 19115 (geographic metadata)
    • Dublin Core
    • Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)
general update
General Update
  • There has been informal work to describe the mappings between these standards among individuals from many organizations
  • Progress is generally good, however…
    • Very labor-intensive
    • Not mission-critical for most organizations
initial approach
Initial Approach
  • After METIS 2006, a general approach for moving forward was identified:
    • Map all standards against ISO/IEC 11179, so it acts as a pivot
  • This approach has been largely successful
  • Not always sufficient for all purposes
    • Some standards address issues which ISO/IEC 11179 does not cover
    • Pivot approach has been supplemented with some direct mappings
the mapping challenge
The Mapping Challenge
  • There are many ways to map different standards
  • As with many technology applications, the criteria for success lies in the answer to the question:
    • “What am I trying to achieve?”
  • Much work has been done in defining use cases which can serve as the basis for producing mappings between standards
high level vision standards mappings
High-Level Vision – Standards Mappings

Federated Registries (Based on SDMX, ebXML, web services)











References to source data

METS Packaging









Dublin Core


Used in

ISO 19115


use cases
Use Cases
  • The preceding picture embodies several use cases:
    • Register microdata sets and their metadata (XBRL, DDI, etc.)
    • Query for microdata/metadata
    • Capture ISO/IEC 11179 metadata for SDMX/DDI/XBRL objects (concepts, codes, etc.)
    • Query for ISO/IEC 11179 metadata on an SDMX object
    • Link from SDMX aggregates to DDI/XBRL sources
    • Etc.
what does this look like
What Does This Look Like?

Demo of DDI – SDMX Integration

starting point mappings
Starting Point: Mappings
  • Five mappings have been identified as a good starting point:
    • SDMX – ISO/IEC 11179
    • DDI – ISO/IEC 11179
    • XBRL – ISO/IEC 11179
    • SDMX – DDI
    • XBRL - SDMX
sdmx iso iec 11179
SDMX – ISO/IEC 11179
  • Many false starts – this is a difficult one!
  • Emphasis is on integration of SDMX mechanisms and ISO/IEC 11179 metadata
    • SDMX does not cover the same detail as ISO/IEC 11179, but provides points of contact (eg, code lists and other representations, classifications, concepts)
  • This mapping is important to the ISO acceptance of SDMX version 2.0 Technical Specifications
    • A detailed draft is currently being developed

SDMX and ISO/IEC 11179

SDMX Structure Definition

SDMX Structure Components

SDMX Representation

Value Domain


permissible content



permissible content

enumerated or non enumerated values

takes semantic from a concept

link to

Permissible Value

link to

SDMX Concept

ISO/IEC 11179 Concept

enumerated domains have value meaning

SDMX Code List

ISO/IEC 11179 Data ElementConcept

ISO/IEC 11179 Data Element

Value Meaning

  • There is an on-going prototype describing the ISO/IEC 11179 model as an SDMX Reference Metadata Structure
  • This will greatly simplify the integration of SDMX and ISO/IEC 11179 systems
  • The SDMX Registry could serve as a basic ISO/IEC 11179 Registry implementation
ddi iso iec 11179
DDI – ISO/IEC 11179
  • DDI has always been oriented toward the ISO/IEC 11179 model
    • Concepts, codes/representations, categories, etc. are similar
  • The version 3.0 release of DDI is in final voting stages
    • It can act as an XML-syntax implementation of ISO/IEC 11179 for concept banks
    • This is not mandatory, but it is possible
    • A detailed draft is being developed

DDI 3.0 and

ISO/IEC 11179

sdmx ddi
  • DDI and SDMX have some degree of overlap
    • Both describe multi-dimensional data cubes
    • Both have code lists and concepts, etc.
    • Both provide XML formats for the data and metadata
  • DDI is oriented toward micro-data, SDMX is oriented toward aggregates
  • The correspondences based on ISO/IEC 11179 cover much of the mapping (codes, concepts, etc.)
  • Higher-level use of concepts and codes/representations in data and metadata structures requires a dedicated mapping
  • A detailed draft is being prepared
  • An on-going prototype is being developed to derive SDMX data structure definitions from DDI metadata
  • This will allow for both aggregates and micro-data documented in DDI to be automatically expressed as SDMX
    • Micro-data has limited dimensionality
  • SDMX tools for data visualization, etc., could directly leverage DDI-documented data sets based on a standard transformation
  • Still in early stages
sdmx xbrl
  • SDMX and XBRL have different applications
    • XBRL is for individual business reports
    • SDMX is for aggregates
  • Both cover multi-dimensional data
  • SDMX Sponsors and XBRL International have agreed to define a standard mapping
    • Work is progressing well, and further meetings are expected in 2008
    • To follow progress, see
xbrl iso iec 11179
XBRL – ISO/IEC 11179
  • Theoretically, an XBRL taxonomy could be described according to the ISO/IEC 11179 model, but…
  • No progress has been made in this area
other mappings notes
Other Mappings/Notes
  • Dublin Core and ISO 19115 can be described in SDMX as a reference metadata structure
  • These are both integrated into the DDI 3.0 design
    • Native Dublin Core XML is supported
    • Links to ISO 19115-compliant shape files are supported
  • More work is needed here
    • But not highest priority
on going work
On-Going Work
  • 4 of 5 mappings should emerge in 2008 as drafts for review:
    • ISO/IEC 11179 – SDMX
    • ISO/IEC 11179 – DDI
    • SDMX – DDI
    • SDMX – XBRL
  • Interesting protoypes/examples are being developed
    • This includes some prototype tools for performing cross-walks
support and interest
Support and Interest
  • Generally, support and interest has been very good
    • Many individuals/organizations have participated informally: METIS, SDMX Sponsors, XBRL International, ISO committees (Open Forum for Metadata Registries), Open Data Foundation, DDI Alliance, NSOs
    • Standards organizations understand the need to provide alignments and mappings, to support their users
  • Overall progress has been good
  • METIS can help this work
    • By providing critical feedback on published drafts
    • By providing visibility and credibility to the results through inclusion in the metadata framework