SDMX (Statistical data and metadata exchange) is a widely accepted standard for communicating data  in the realm of official statistics.

‘SDMX is an initiative to foster standards for the exchange of statistical information. Sponsored by BISECBEUROSTATIMFOECDUN World Bank.’

More and more applications accept and use this standard for data input as well as for data output: So for instance the ECB Inflation dashboard or EUROSTATS plans to offer sdmxed data out of its database or the activities in PC-Axis tabulation software.

RDF, scovo

But official statistics are not the only ones who discuss and conceptualise statistical data exchange.  scovo (‘The Statistical Core Vocabulary’) is another attempt, it ‘ specifies an [RDF-Schema] vocabulary for representing statistical data on the Web’.


Behind this we find – among others – the people who launched RIESE (RDFizing and Interlinking the EuroStat Data Set Effort).

Planetary conjunction

SDMX and RDF are beginning to approach each other.  And this may lead to a new kind of open data: Already open statistical data become accessible as linked open data.

Such activities can be seen in the UK where the UK Government Data Developers (a Google Group, ONS is participating) are working on this topic.

Jenni Tennison describes this in his blog: ‘One of the things that we’ve been discussing over on the UK Government Data Developers mailing list is how best to represent the vast quantities of statistical data that the government produces, in RDF. This is what we’ve come up with: 1. We’ll use SCOVO (scv: <;)as our main vocabulary. ….’
and later on:  ‘One source of sub-properties of scv:dimension (and subtypes of scv:Dimension) is SDMX (Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange). This provides standard ways of indicating things like the area and time that a statistic applies to…. ‘.

The work goes on and I hope that more of the specialists in statistical offices will enter the discussion.

At the IMAODBC Conference 2009 in Toronto Gareth Mc Guinness from the IMF presented a paper about SDMX and Web 3.0:  That’s just semantics.

See also my paper at the Prague Conference 2009,  ‘Official statistics beyond Web 2.0: Challenges, rewards and risks to come‘, especially pages 5ff.