9:00 am EST - 3:30 pm EST

Past Event

Metadata and NICS: Joys, Sorrows, and Payoffs

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

9:00 am - 3:30 pm EST

The Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Statistical metadata provide information about a data set. Metadata examples include record layout, data definitions, and standard errors. Analysts need this type of documentation in order to find, understand, and manipulate statistical data. They also need it to be able to integrate or compare data from multiple data sets.

Accurate, appropriate, consistently provided metadata, then, are indispensable to the success of NICS. But preparing metadata, particularly for administrative records, can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Moreover, data analysts often are not well versed in how to use metadata from secondary data sets to facilitate data use and integration.

The purpose of this meeting of the CoP is to determine how we can best manage the metadata dimension of NICS. After a brief tutorial on the basics of metadata, we will address the following questions:

  • What metadata are essential for NICS-ready data sets?
  • What resources are available to help data providers prepare these metadata as painlessly as possible?
  • What resources are available to help data users draw on metadata to integrate or compare data from multiple data sets?
  • How can NICS encourage the preparation and effective use of metadata?

This upcoming gathering is the second meeting of the National Infrastructure for Community Statistics (NICS) Community of Practice (CoP) in our “initiation phase.” As discussed on April 12, the CoP will meet several times over the next year for the purposes of education, information sharing, networking, and receiving updates and furthering the work of the Operations and Use Case Committees in guiding the development of NICS towards an “implementation phase.”

NICS is intended as a nationwide Web-based broker facilitating public and private decisionmakers’ access to detailed, current community-level statistics from thousands of local, state, federal, and commercial data sources. The NICS CoP is comprised of over 150 individuals—from a variety of government, nonprofit, and commercial realms—working collaboratively on the design, construction, and governance of NICS.