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1.1 Metadata strategy

Statistics Finland has not laid down a specific metadata strategy, but a policy definition on the development of a centralised statistical metadata system is included in the agency’s ICT strategy. Statistics Finland intends to develop and implement an xml-based common statistical metadata system in order to rationalise and support the harmonisation of statistical business processes. The system will be based on Statistics Finland’s CoSSI metadata model.

The ICT strategy and its future goals lay emphasis on creating common and integrated metadata systems application tools. In accordance with the main principle, metadata will be created and maintained in a metadata system and made available and transformable to whatever use it is needed for in business processes from data collection to data dissemination.

In accordance with the ICT strategy, the services of the metadata system are defined, planned and implemented in connection with individual renewals of the statistical system, paying attention to extendibility in the planned solutions so that they can be offered after the renewal to other systems and users at Statistics Finland as well. The metadata systems are developed so that they can be made available in addition to so-called general user interfaces (such as the variable editor) direct to statistical applications. This eases the exploitation of the content of the metadata warehouse in the statistics production process.

The objectives of Statistics Finland's operational strategy are such as the usability and retrievability of data, reliability of statistics and standardisation of processes. A common metadata system supports these objectives by providing a uniform way of describing statistical resources, such as classifications, data sets and variables.

1.2 Current situation

At the moment, we are undergoing a transitional phase where we maintain metadata in relational databases and at the same time, develop new systems based on xml technology. The current metadata systems and the ongoing projects are introduced in Section 2.2.