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Innovations in Data Dissemination Thomas L. Mesenbourg, Jr. Acting Director U.S. Census Bureau United Nations Seminar on Innovations in Official Statistics February 20, 2009
Dissemination Challenges Present relevant and appropriate information that meets users’ needs Provide information that is timely, accurate, and accessible
Topics to be Discussed • Integrating data from multiple sources • Allowing users to access, manipulate, and generate results themselves • Points for discussion
Integrating Data from Multiple Sources • TheDataWeb – U.S. Census Bureau • Open source system – handles different kinds of data and datasets in the same system framework • Empowered by statistical intelligence • Documentation, statistical usage rules, data integration rules • Stores data one time, uses them many times • Software infrastructure that makes HotReports and DataFerrett work • Collaborating with ABS since 2005
U.S. Census Bureau’s HotReports • Target decision makers who have limited time and statistical background • Features • Bring together relevant variables for local areas • Maps, charts, simple tables, and short text boxes • Focus on one topic using information from many data sources • Such as economic development or emergency response • Update the information dynamically • Support decision making through guided use of statistical data
Local Employment Dynamics ProgramU.S.Census Bureau • A collaboration between the U.S. Census Bureau and almost all the states • Integrates workers’ characteristics with their employers’ characteristics • Labor force information available quarterly and longitudinally for small geographic areas and by industry • Pre-defined and user-defined tables • OnTheMap software • Easy visualization of massive amount of data • Strict protection of respondents’ confidentiality • First released in 2006 – latest version 3.2 released in December 2008
Integrating Data – Other Countries • Two innovations (Sweden) • Aggregated statistics – SSD • Access data from Statistics Sweden and other agencies • Combine data with different structures on same topic • Transmit selected tables to the user • The Planning Portal – integrates geographic information from various sources for planning purposes • Interactive databases (Brazil) • Dynamic graphs that allow adding a time variable • Layered approach (Australia) • Headlines, simple stories, detailed stories, data cubes, and related data, as well as metadata
Allowing users to access, manipulate, and generate results themselves • Public-use products, including microdata • Statistical data enclaves • User-defined tables while protecting confidentiality • Licensed access to confidential data
Public-Use Microdata • DataFerrett is an analytical tool developed by the U.S. Census Bureau • Features • Targets sophisticated analysts who are now able to access many public-use microdata files at once • Data manipulation, including advanced tabulations • Maps and business graphics using statistical rules • Data extracts in popular statistical package formats • Adding regression and other advanced statistical tools • Provides context with the variables • The universe, variable values, and the definition
More on Public-Use Products • Anonymised micro data files (Ireland) • No identifiers, and data suppressed if re-identification would be possible • Output Database (Lithuania) • Aspecializedweb site of Eurostat products • Developed for national users, free of charge • Launchedwith 820 datasets
Statistical Data Enclaves • The U.S. Census Bureau • Research Data Centers allow users to obtain special sworn status to access confidential data in controlled locations for approved purposes • Also used in Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands
User-Defined Tables and Analyses While Protecting Confidentiality • On-line statistical database (Ireland) • Users can create customized tables • Access to software for downloads • Microdata Analysis System (US) • A remote access system to create tables and execute regressions using confidential data is in development • Based on the Advanced Query System developed for Census 2000 data
Licensed Access to Confidential Data • Microdata on line (Sweden) • Approved researchers access confidential data on line • Licensed access to confidential data (Australia) • Restricted information when access is broader, and more detailed variables only for trusted users • Research Microdata Files (Ireland) • Only authorized people can access them, under the Statistics Act of 1993
Points for Discussion • If we build it, will they come? • Are statistical agencies best equipped to satisfy users needs? • Targeted versus enterprise-wide systems? • Can innovative, targeted systems be adapted for the enterprise? • How can we leverage each other’s initiatives?