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The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is pleased to present this publication, Part A of the Common Metadata Framework. The development of a common framework for statistical metadata was initiated by the 2004 Joint UNECE/Eurostat/OECD Work Session on Statistical Metadata (METIS), which concluded that a framework was needed to provide links and context to previous and current international metadata standards initiatives together with comparisons of selected examples of current practices, to help statistical organizations to develop their metadata systems.

The Common Metadata Framework is being developed and maintained through discussion and inputs to METIS Work Sessions and Workshops. At the time of writing, it comprises four parts:

  • Part A: Statistical Metadata in a Corporate Context. This part highlights the role of metadata systems in statistical organizations and focuses on managerial issues relevant to the corporate governance of statistical metadata systems.
  • Part B: Metadata Concepts, Standards, Models and Registries. This part provides information about relevant concepts, international standards and models, and explores the links between them.
  • Part C: Metadata and the Statistical Business Process. This part contains explanations, good practices and other material to assist statistical organizations to design and develop a statistical information system relevant to their business requirements.
  • Part D: Implementation. This part focuses on the experiences of statistical organizations that have recently implemented or re-engineered their statistical metainformation systems. It consists of a set of case studies published on the METIS-wiki.

The latest versions of the different parts of the Common Metadata Framework, as well as other information on statistical metadata, are available online. Part A was first published online in 2006. It has been revised and updated during 2008 and 2009 in consultation with the METIS Steering Group.

The underlying purpose of Part A is metadata advocacy, i.e. to raise awareness of the importance of metadata throughout the statistical production process. It also aims to demonstrate that a statistical metadata system is not just an information technology project. It impacts of all areas of statistical production so requires inputs from many different disciplines, as well as strong corporate governance with the active involvement of senior managers.

Acknowledgements

This publication has been prepared thanks to the collective input of member countries of the Conference of European Statisticians, the Statistical Metadata (METIS) Steering Group and the coordination efforts of UNECE secretariat staff and an independent consultant, Jana Melíšková. Feedback and suggestions for improvement are encouraged and can be sent to the UNECE secretariat.