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Thesaurus for Ecodata (Ministry of Economic Affairs)

Research project AG/EE/057 (Research action AG)

Persons :

  • M.  WEISERBS Daniel - Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2002-1/1/2004

Description :

Description of the project

Elaboration of metadata for the macro-economic database "Ecodata"

Ecodata, the macro-economic database of time series and multidimensional tables at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, has undergone major development during the past year. This database is designed to give a detailed, up-to-date picture of the Belgian economy within its European and global context. To achieve this, the degree of detail of the key figures has been greatly increased, an automated system was built for updating data and the application was modernised to afford user-friendly and efficient access to the database on the basis of the most modern web technologies (java applets).

Because of the wide range of data suppliers, the substantial volumes of data and the increased complexity of the statistics, it appears necessary to call on external and scientific specialists for the documentation of the database. Hereby one must take into account that these French-language, Dutch-language and English-language metadata can serve as a starting point for searches and must ensure a smooth link to the existing data. Moreover, the use of explanatory figures is encouraged in order to obtain an attractive and uniform visual presentation in web browsers.

Ecodata is composed of 2 basic structures:

- Time series which are logically grouped in a hierarchical structure. Currently one can find data on the basis of the rubric and time series descriptions ("full text") and the existing time series attributes (unit, frequency, producer and method of calculation).
- Multidimensional tables per specific statistic. Here one strives for a documentation at the table level and for the various dimensions and dimensional categories.

Firstly, the existing time series attributes must be documented. For statistics which substantively will undergo significant change, a reference to the website of the producer may offer an ultimate solution.
Secondly, new metadata forms must be developed: table of contents, synonyms list, keywords list, table list and dimension list. Optional are references to related statistics ("See also ...") and a description of the various search methods ("help on help").

Work which must be performed by the scientific team

The scientific team should be able to organise and describe the metadata. This must be carried out in collaboration with the statisticians of the Economic Information Administration, who will be responsible for the collection.

Finished product which must be delivered by the scientific team

A relational database of metadata, texts and figures which is integrated into the existing "Ecodata" application. It must be possible to modify and supplement this documentation with conventional and standard software. Statisticians at the MEA must be able to maintain this documentation.

Utilisation of the result

a) integration procedure within the internal functioning of the institution

The delivered documentation is intended to assure an enrichment of the existing metadata, integration into the existing application and fast utilisation on the MEA Intranet, Fedenet and/or Internet. It will permit increased accuracy for our statisticians, guarantee quality and legibility, and facilitate correct interpretation by the general public.

b) Utilisation for the scientific world and the general public

Ecodata is a relational database which will be made accessible.


Ministry of Economic Affairs, Economic Information Administration

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