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Data Archiving at the U.S. Central Bank. Linda F. Powell Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Research and Statistics Division IASSIST Conference May 2005. Challenges. Collection/Acquisition Quality Storage Documentation Cataloguing Dissemination.

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Data archiving at the u s central bank

Data Archiving at the U.S. Central Bank

Linda F. Powell

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Research and Statistics Division

IASSIST Conference May 2005


  • Collection/Acquisition

    • Quality

    • Storage

  • Documentation

  • Cataloguing

  • Dissemination

Data collection acquisition
Data Collection / Acquisition

  • Surveys

    • Uniform storage and retrieval

    • Uniform documentation

    • Expensive collection process

  • Purchase data from vendors or acquire data from other sources

    • Various formats and technology

    • Unique documentation

    • Licensing agreements

Data collection through storage micro data surveys

Process Data at FRS

Edit data at FRS




FRS Fincl

Data Repos.

Reporter (e.g. bank)

Display Data



FRS Struct Data


Data Collection through Storage – Micro Data Surveys

Data collection through storage micro data purchased from vendors
Data Collection through Storage – Micro Data Purchased from Vendors

  • Comes in a variety of formats and modes of access

  • Some data are processed and stored in SAS datasets

  • Other data are only available through proprietary software

  • Licensing agreements vary, affecting who has access to data and how the data can be stored

Data collection through storage macro data
Data Collection through Storage – Macro Data from Vendors

  • Acquired from other public sources

  • A limited amount is purchased from vendors

  • Micro data are aggregated to create macro data

  • Most production macro data are stored in FAME databases (time series data)

Data collection through storage data quality
Data Collection through Storage – Data Quality from Vendors

Not all data are created equal

  • Macro data are edited for reasonableness and consistency

  • Survey micro data are edited for reasonableness, consistency, and compliance with business rules

  • Vendor data are generally reviewed for accuracy by the end users. Resolution of problems varies by product

Data documentation micro data
Data Documentation – Micro Data from Vendors

  • Purchased data have individual documentation

  • Survey data have a uniform set of documentation compiled in the Micro Data Reference Manual (MDRM)

MDRM from Vendors

  • Each accounting or economic concept gets a number

    • The same number is used across surveys for the same concept

  • Each survey gets a mnemonic

    • Surveys can have sub mnemonics to show distinctions between the series within a survey

Mdrm example
MDRM Example from Vendors

Total Assets of an institution is collected on many surveys

Total assets always has the number 2170

For finance companies the variable name is DFCR2170

Commercial banks have:

RCON2170 for domestic total assets

RCFD2170 for foreign total assets

Mdrm information
MDRM Information from Vendors

Data documentation macro data
Data Documentation – Macro Data from Vendors

  • The FAME database can be self documenting

    • Location, contacts, periodicity, units, …

  • Data stored in FAME use a hierarchical nomenclature

    • E.g. Disposable Outlays of Personal Income data are labeled Y.P.D.O

What data are available
What Data are Available? from Vendors

  • Survey Micro Data are recorded in MDRM

  • Macro Data are listed in FAME

  • Other data are recorded in Data & News Catalogue

    • All purchased data

    • Some databases created in-house (e.g. merger adjusted financial data and supervisory data)

    • Surveys performed by external organizations

    • There is some overlap with MDRM and FAME

Data dissemination
Data Dissemination from Vendors

Data are stored on various platforms in different applications

  • Survey micro data are stored on mainframe and replicated on SQL server and Unix/Linux

    • Users write programs against databases

    • Some in-house end-user applications

  • Macro data stored in FAME

    • users write programs against FAME database

  • Vendor purchased data are accessed through the vendor software

Data dissemination data and news catalogue
Data Dissemination – from VendorsData and News Catalogue

Division:   Monetary AffairsDatabase:TINYVendor:Federal Reserve BoardData Contact:  John DoeLicense Contact:  Jane DoeLicense Information:  Board Unix userForm of Access:  Unix Network:  Merger adjusted Call Report data. Data are from the quarterly Reports of Condition and Income (Call Reports) for insured domestic commercial banks and nondeposit trust companies. The data consolidate information from foreign and domestic offices and have been adjusted to take account of mergers.Status:  Active ContractKeyword(s):  Accounting , Bank Mergers ,Bank Profits, Banking Structure, Banks and Banking , Call Report , Deposits , Financial Institutions , Financial Statements , Interest Rates    

Link to database or documentation

Link to vendor website

Data dissemination1
Data Dissemination from Vendors

Important factors to make data dissemination easier

  • Uniform storage facilities

  • High quality meta data

  • Using transmission protocols and standards

    • XBRL (financial micro data)

    • SDMX (economic macro data)

In summary
In Summary from Vendors

As the volume and diversity of data increase the need for organized, flexible, and well documented data archives becomes more critical.