As described in the project application document, the aim of NordMAN is twofold: 1) to implement common procedures, administrative processes, security rules and 2) to provide trustworthy information on whether the relevant data exist and if the data are comparable between the Nordic countries. Work Package 3 is focused on the delivery of a metadata framework and thus closely related to the second aim of the NordMAN project. The framework and its conceptual model will form the central part of a metadata portal that will provide search capabilities and support communication between researchers and NSIs.
The main deliverables from this work package will be the documentation of the proposed framework including guidelines on how to use it. The framework consists of information models on different levels. The conceptual model and the logical model will constitute the base for the system development and implementation of an IT-solution in WP4.
A final report will be written with description of the current status regarding metadata handling and metadata systems in the Nordic countries. The final report will also contain conclusions and recommendations for future work.
Outcome so far
The initial activities of WP3 were focused on reaching a common understanding on which type of requirements we need to meet with a metadata framework. The requirements for the portal have been mapped but later we also need to look at requirements for the data exchange and the integration parts. Requirements for the portal have been mapped by categories (including some examples):
Effects (Goal), what’s the business case
- Increased cross boarder research
- Shorter time to data on extended population
- Transparency concerning data, i.e. increased knowledge of which data exist
- Increased quality through reuse of the work/knowledge (e.g. harmonisation) done by research teams
Target Group, types of users that contribute to the effect
Not surprisingly, researchers and new research constellations were considered the main target group but there were also other target groups who were identified:
- Other agencies producing statistics
- General knowledge sharing environment
Usage Goal, what do users need to achieve the effect
- Matching, combining and comparing data from different sources
- Better knowledge of data content
- Quality control of metadata content
- Access/view over the Nordic population
- Support for transition from register research to register-based research
- Search for comparable variables by common English texts
Functions, which functions/services should support the usage goals
- Search function for Variables, Unit Types, Code lists/Classifications, populations, categories
- Data Set Viewer, a function that searches over different data sets/registers/surveys
- Show and compare variables
- Conceptual search
The work has then continued with the conceptual model for the portal. At an early stage, the project group reached consensus on using the international standard GSIM as a translator and bridge between different documentation and metadata systems in our respective countries. Different GSIM-based alternatives/guidelines have been discussed during work package meetings. During a workshop in Helsinki 5th – 6th of July the guidelines were taken one step further and a simplified conceptual model was approved.
Figure 1: Conceptual model
Figure 2: Detailed examples clarifying the Conceptual Model for the NordMAN portal
According to the project application document, WP3 should be finalised in June 2016. However, the work in WP3 started in March 2016 and some of the deliverables are still to be delivered.
- A logical information model (will provide more details than the conceptual model and therefore a necessary input for WP4)
- Requirements for the data exchange and the integration parts
- Final report
The governance group will also discuss the best way to organise the future work with the metadata parts with regards to the fact that WP5 might need to have a different scope compared to what was initially planned. The outcome of this discussion may affect what the final deliverables from WP3 will be.
Work package participants
Hans Irebäck, Statistics Sweden, WP-leader, C-G Hjelm, Statistics Sweden, Anton Örn Karlsson, Statistics Iceland, Lars Pedersen, Statistics Greenland, Essi Kaukonen, Statistics, Finland, Mikko Saloila, Statistics Finland, Mogens Grosen Nielsen, Statistics Denmark, Flemming Dannevang, Statistics Denmark, Klas Blomqvist, Statistics Sweden, Magnus Eriksson, Swedish Research Council