Istat’s new website

Statistical agencies provide masses of data and every  launch of an agency’s new website is an exciting experience: how do they manage to present their data for different user groups? On August 1st Statistics Italia did it!

Here some words from the official announcement: ‘Information is organized by theme and territory, which increases content traceability along with tagging and search engine optimisation.
The new site’s strong points are a wider use of dynamic, interactive visual elements and content in open formats, available to users through a Creative Commons license. The opening of channels with Istat’s logo on Social Media, moreover, ensures timely and viral dissemination of institutional web content on the Net.’

My first impressions (a statistically not significant sample ;-))

  • A beautiful design, clear, fresh, good pictures, attractively animated header!
  • Innovative functionalities: graphic widgets and a simple but effective database widget (find local information)  on the first page and on thematic pages. But: after downloading a graphic widget no information about country or source of information visible in the chart ( lost context) .
  • Good outreach with news feeds in diverse formats  (RSS, Atom, JSON).
  • Output oriented, thematic structure (19 topics) and 19 thematic entry pages with 4 standard offers:
    1. news
    2. simple graphics (widgets)
    3. datasets (access to preconfigured database requests, the database itself is for specialists!), with EXCEL and SDMX (sic!) download. But no way back from to
    4. interactive presentation with maps and diagrams (using the NComVA toolset)
  • An innovative licence model using Creative Commons. (This could be well communicated as a step to open government data Italia):

  • Good social media integration on every page, i.e. a blog (rapporto annuale – Who is this?)
  • Navigation  distributed over the page from top to bottom, sometimes in the middle of  a content page: Not so easy to be understood intuitively. The (more and more important) mobile access hidden in the footer.
  • Interesting alternative to surfing by navigation: Data access also via tags (data objects stored and tagged in a database and displayed via search?)
  • An open philosophy: Not only open data licence but also open for using third party tools like fusioncharts and NComVA visualisations.

Storytelling with maps and graphs – Some examples

It’s like an app, a separate presentation not embedded into the navigation of the mother website. One single link only – behind the NSI logo – gives the context to the whole statistical content offered by Statistics Italia. I speak of … noi italia.

And it’s beautiful. A mix of static and dynamic (flash, delivered by NCVA) content, text (some call it storytelling) with interactive graphs and maps. .

With the same technology used by noi italia Statistics Sweden just launched its Statistikatlas and also some thematical visualisations or vislets integrated into the website.

Compare i.e. with EUROSTATS Table Graph Maps application which has no texts or storytelling included.

Or with Switzerland’s Stat@las.

A BarCamp for World Stats Day

In Italy there will be taken a interesting initiative in organising a BarCamp for the World Statistics Day.

This form allows members to participate in a number of different workshops.

The overall topic of these workshops is:

“Sharing Data and Statistical Knowledge”

Get more information (in Italian) starting on Vincenzo Patrunos Blog

IMAODBC 2010: And the winner is . . .

The Bo Sundgren Award of the International Marketing and Output Database Conference IMAODBC 2010 in Vilnius goes to Vincenzo Patruno from Statistics Italy ISTAT. In his presentation about Data Sharing Vincenzo Patruno demonstrates the use of widgets for the dissemination of statistical informations. Widgets are small pieces of code which can be embedded in a website and interact with an application, i.e. a database. Once embedded the information they provide is always updated automatically whenever the application itself is updated.
See some examples on Vincenzos Blogespecially the post How to Share a whole application on the Web. The small table with figures for Rome on the right hand-column of his blog is such a widget.

Translate a website with connecting links in seconds!

Here is an example of translation of a unique ISTAT education material from Italian into English. Google Translate manages most combinations of languages. Not perfect but understandable, isn’t it? And also all connecting links in Italian are translated. Try and compare with the official English version, which is often not comprehensive.

Il valore dei dati

ISTAT, the National Institute of Statistics of Italy, offers a special site promoting the understanding and usage of official statistics:


It is made (not only) for students. Taking a look at the sitemap shows the overall conception:

  • The usage of statistics in decision making (Chapter 1)
  • The fundamentals of producing statistics (Chapter 2)
  • Quality: What statistics can we trust? (Chapter 3)
  • Working with statistics: how to find data, how to present these data (tables, graphs ..) (Chapter 4)

If there will not be an English version we will have to learn Italian! Thanks Paola for the hint!
Sitemap-Valore dati

And there are even more pages ISTAT dedicates to students. Per gli studenti – For Students gives an overview. Statistica per esempi – Statistics by examples is a very interesting (online-) brochure introducing statistical topics using everyday situations (“Il volume Statistica per esempi, che spiega l’uso della statistica, la raccolta delle informazioni e la rappresentazione dei dati attraverso esempi della vita quotidiana…”)