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In 2009, the SDMX community has established and released the SDMX Content-Oriented Guidelines (SDMX COG). These Guidelines recommend practices for creating interoperable data and metadata sets using the SDMX technical standards. They are intended to be applicable to all statistical subject-matter domains. The Guidelines focus on harmonising specific concepts and terminology that are common to a large number of statistical domains.

In its Annex 1, the SDMX COG enumerate a list of 66 cross-domain concepts. This list covers general concepts which are used in various statistical domains. This list has been used as the basis for constructing standard structures of metadata to be used within the European Statistical System and beyond.

The exhaustive list of cross-domain concepts can be find on the SDMX web page at the following address:

The Euro-SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Based on the SDMX-COG, Eurostat selected 21 of the 66 cross-domain concepts in order to create a structure to be used for the dissemination of reference metadata on its website. These 21 concepts have also been further broken down into several sub-concepts.

The generated complete structure is called Euro-SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS) and is in use in Eurostat since 2010 where it fully replaced the previous structure in place: the Statistical Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).

The ESMS is now the unique structure in use in Eurostat for the dissemination of reference metadata at European level. It is also the structure used for the collection of national reference metadata files from National Statistical Institutes., as streamlined in the Commission Recommendation 2009/498/EC

The detailed structure of the ESMS can be found here:

The ESS Standard for Quality Reports Structure (ESQRS)

Although some quality concepts are part of the ESMS, the need of a more detailed standard structure for the collection and dissemination of quality reports has grown up during last years since there was no homogeneity between the existing structures used in the different statistical domains.

In this context, 2 main documents were released in January 2009 in the European Statistical System:

  • The ESS Standard for quality Reports (ESQR)
  • The ESS Handbook for quality Reports (EHQR)

In addition to them, the EP and Council Regulation 223/2009 was voted in March 2009. This legal act further details in its Article 12 the list of quality criteria to be reported. Based on these documents and on the Regulation 223/2009, a standard structure for the collection of quality report has been built and is called ESS Standard for Quality Reports Structure (ESQRS).

The ESQRS is also used now for the collection of national quality reports from National Statistical Institutes.

The Euro Process Metadata Structure (EPMS)

Eurostat has recently developed another standard structure with the aim of documenting the statistical business processes: the EPMS. As a matter of fact, the need of using a standard structure for all statistical domains was more and more important since statistical business processes were not documented in a harmonised manner in Eurostat.

The EPMS covers 8 main statistical concepts (divided into sub-concepts) and takes over information from the ESMS file to which it is linked. Nevertheless the EPMS requires more process related metadata, especially concerning summary process description, workflow, data validation, data compilation and the IT applications used.

The EPMS is used only internally in Eurostat for the moment and replaces the PIM previously used (the PIM is still to be used ofr other types of processes).

The produced EPMS files are not publicly disseminated.

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