Metadata Technology Providing Support for Data Without Boundaries Project

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Metadata Technology to Help Develop Portal for Cross-Border Access to European Research Data

Metadata Technology (the "Company") will play an essential role in the Data Without Boundaries (DwB) project whose overall objective is to support equal and easy access to official microdata for the European Research Area. The Company will help design and implement a portal for the search and discovery of datasets held within national archives, statistical offices, and research centers across Europe. Metadata Technology is the sole commercial partner in DwB, which involves 28 participants across 12 countries, including data archives and statistical agencies. The project, spanning a 4 year year time frame, is supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Program through a funding of over 6 million Euros. Metadata Technology was invited to participate due to its deep expertise with the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) standards, which are to be used as the basis for interactions between the portal and data holding organizations.

European official statistical microdata are currently under-used and held behind national, legislative, technical, and cultural borders. The DwB initiative aims at improving access to these microdata, in collaboration with the data holdings of the European national data archives. The 12 work packages being undertaken by the participating agencies cover activities aimed at easing national legal restrictions on microdata access, identification of standard models for exchanging data and metadata, and the implementation of cross-border search, enabling users to identify data within Europe relevant to their research, along with documentation and information about access and retrieval modalities.

Metadata Technology is directly involved in two of the DwB work packages: Work Package 8 will identify the functionality and metadata models and formats for creating a cross-border portal for searching all European microdata holdings. This work will build on earlier efforts made by the CESSDA archives in Europe, and will also extend on the existing metadata models found in the DDI and SDMX standards. This effort will be lead at Metadata Technology by M. Arofan Gregory. Work Package 12 will take the outputs of Work Package 8 and implement the core portal functionality, along with tools for harvesting information about each different organization’s data holdings, and updating the search data within the central portal. M. Jack Gager and M. Pascal Heus will be coordinating the works under Work Package 12.

In addition to supporting the DwB portal, libraries and utilities resulting from these packages will benefit the broader data and metadata community through, when relevant, their release under an open source licence.

To learn more about Data without Boundaries, visit http://www.dwbproject.org/.

The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an XML specification for the documentation and management of microdata, particularly in socio-economic sciences and the health sector. It is maintained by the DDI Alliance (http://www.ddialliance.org).

The Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) is an initiative to foster standards for the exchange of statistical information, in particular aggregated and time series data. It is maintained and distributed the SDMX Sponsors (http://www.sdmx.org).

Metadata Technology (http://www.metadatatechnology.com) is a privately owned eGovernment data management and information technology solution provider. The Company’s mission is to facilitate production, open access, and improve the quality and use of statistical and scientific data. It specializes in products and services leveraging XML technology, metadata standards, and related best practices. Its key personnel include globally recognized experts in the area of the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) standard, the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), and the management of socio-economic data, health data, and official statistics.

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Pascal Heus
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