CAIRD3 ESRC/ONS 2011 Census Collaboration

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: MIMAS

Abstract

This project builds upon a history of successful and productive co-funded collaboration between the ESRC Census Dissemination Unit (CDU) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has focussed on providing knowledge exchange and technical assistance from the CDU to inform and support the development of ONS data feed capabilities for improved and more efficient dissemination of the 2011 Census Aggregate Outputs (2011 AO) via an ONS Application Programming Interface (API).

The project supports the ESRC's priorities of working closely with ONS, encouraging knowledge exchange and co-funding with important non-academic organisations, and continuing to develop the national social-science research infrastructure to ensure its widespread use and improved exploitation of existing data resources and services. It also develops expertise in data feed dissemination technologies within ESRC, and maintains its position at the forefront of data feed research.

The project is intended to run for twelve months from the end of CAIRD2 on 13 September 2011 to 12 September 2012.

The CDU has developed extensive and unique expertise in data feed development through pioneering work on the current CAIRD2 Project and previous data feed research over several years. It also has leading skills and experience in application and interface design and development acquired over a fifteen year history of online dissemination of aggregate outputs from recent UK censuses to meet the requirements of academic users. These have been combined to develop InFuse, a new interface to census aggregate outputs based on a data feed developed through extensive restructuring and rationalisation of the original 2001 Census Aggregate Outputs. InFuse was launched as an operational CDU service at the beginning of May 2011. The initial version of InFuse exploits some of the benefits of the data feed approach to dissemination to make it easier for users to understand, find and use information of relevance to them from within the aggregate outputs.

The CDU has proven ability to apply its expertise quickly, responsively and flexibly, working with several different units within ONS to deliver high quality, appropriate results for CAIRD2. This project will extend the collaboration to assist with and accelerate data feed development at ONS to ensure timely, high quality delivery of the 2011 AO to users by ONS, and to the UK academic community via InFuse.

The first four of the project work packages will develop and deliver some of the key components required to realise ONS's current plans for core dissemination of the 2011 AO via a data feed and API, as well as providing knowledge exchange on requirements to combine them into an effective data feed with appropriate functionality.

The final two work packages will develop RDF capability for the 2011 AO, which will provide benefits in enabling the 2011 AO to be exposed as Linked Data, and will then use the RDF description of the 2011 AO as a basis for the development of similarity/comparability structures and measures between the 2011 and 2001 AO, along with interface functionality to make this information available to users.

A review of 2011 AO interface development will be carried out at an appropriate time approximately half way through the project. This will decide on a final model which could involve provision of some aspects of the outputs, such as information on comparability between the 2001 AO and 2011 AO, via open access versions of CDU interfaces including InFuse, which would require further negotiation between ONS and ESRC over licensing and funding.

Planned Impact

Census datasets are unique and extremely valuable information resources. A considerable amount of decision making of national and international importance across all sectors is based to some degree upon evidence provided by research using census information.

If the project is successful in achieving its aims, it will provide mechanisms to make more comprehensive and integrated census information available in ways that make it easier to understand, find information of relevance and use it appropriately. This will extend across the academic community and beyond through influence on the 2011 Census, and will stimulate increased and more effective use of census information by existing and new user communities. More research of higher quality will be produced, which will improve decision making, and result in numerous beneficial societal, economic and other impacts.

The methods developed by the project have relevance far beyond census datasets as they offer a potential for development of unifying data infrastructure to enable combined and comparative use of a wide range of important UK and international aggregate datasets via a new generation of interfaces offering users advanced and tailored functionality, with obvious dramatic impacts. This is the future information environment being anticipated and worked towards by the international information dissemination community, and which the CDU intends to continue to play a pioneering role in realising.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The CAIRD3 project builds upon a history of successful and productive co-funded collaboration between the then Dissemination Unit (CDU) (now part of the UK Data Service) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It continued the research into the application of Dimensional Data and Web Data Access approaches to census aggregate datasets, and enabled further development of the revolutionary InFuse interface. It also provided knowledge exchange and technical assistance between ourselves and ONS to inform and support the development of Dimensional Data and Web Data Access approaches by ONS for improved and more efficient dissemination of the 2011 Census Aggregate Outputs.
Exploitation Route The project will continue to achieve indirect impacts on all users and uses of 2011 census aggregate information due to its influence on improvements in the quality and delivery of the aggregate outputs from the 2011 Census. InFuse 2011 continues to be provided as a public service by the UK Data Service. The CAIRD3 project will continue to achieve impacts on users of InFuse 2011 across sectors through its contribution to the initial development of the InFuse 2011 service.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmace

URL http://infuse.mimas.ac.uk/
 
Description Key economic and societal impacts achieved by the project so far include: Stronger partnership between ESRC and ONS This partnership provides benefits to both organisations through exchange of information, expertise and ideas, as well as opportunities to work collaboratively to influence and improve national data and research infrastructure. Improvements in quality and delivery of information from the 2011 Census The project has directly influenced some aspects of ONS policy and practice to improve their management and delivery of information from the 2011 Census. Examples include the use of simpler and more consistent categorisations of variables, retention of cell numbering within census table frameworks and data outputs, and the production of bulk outputs to a widely accepted text format, rather than an obscure SDMX variant as originally proposed by ONS. These improvements will benefit users of 2011 census information across all sectors including the academic/scientific sector, and achieve impacts in greater and better quality research and decision making based on its use. These impacts also extend to 2011 census outputs produced by the other UK census agencies through ONS' lead. InFuse 2011 The benefits of InFuse 2011 described previously now extend beyond the academic sector following its launch in July 2013 as a public service. This has extended the range of impacts that InFuse 2011 is able to achieve by making the 2011 census aggregate outputs easier to find, understand and use to everyone.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceu
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Influence on UK National Statistical Institutes' policies for the 2011 Census
Impact Through long-term engagement with Office for National Statistics and the other UK National Statistical Institutes via formal committees, working groups, consultations, workshops and conference presentations, as well as through personal relationships, the CDU has influenced the scope, detail, structure, delivery and licensing of the raw 2011 Census outputs, as well as other products such as postcode datasets to improve research data to better meet the requirements of academic and other users.
 
Description Further funding for ONS API Test Datasets project
Amount £27,500 (GBP)
Organisation Office for National Statistics 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2012 
End 02/2013
 
Title 2011 census logical model 
Description An initial, high-level logical model for the 2011 Census Aggregate Outputs based on anticipated entities prior to the availability of detailed structural information from ONS. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? No  
 
Title Test Datasets for ONS API in CODP SDMX format 
Description A set of files providing XML descriptions of datasets supplied to ONS containing data from the 2001 Census Aggregate Outputs restructured to resemble the format in which 2011 Census tables will be produced by Census Output Data Production (CODP). The CODP format is a version of generic SDMX with additional elements to encode visual layout). NB: the extensions of the files should be changed to .xml following download. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? No  
 
Title Test Datasets for ONS API in SDMX cross-sectional format 
Description A set of files providing specifications of datasets supplied to ONS containing data from the 2001 Census Aggregate Outputs restructured to resemble the format in which 2011 Census tables will be produced in SDMX cross-sectional XML format. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2011 
Provided To Others? No  
 
Description Collaboration and partnership with ONS on 2011 Census policies and methods 
Organisation Office for National Statistics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution One of the main purposes of this project was to enable collaboration between the ESRC and ONS over technical developments with relevance to the production and dissemination of outputs from the 2011 Census.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Production of test datasets for ONS WDA API 
Organisation Office for National Statistics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution On the basis of work done on the CAIRD3 project to dimentionalise data from the 2001 Census, further work was done in collaboration with ONS to produce test datasets containing 2001 data formatted to resemble data anticipated from the 2011 Census. ONS provided funding for staff resource for this work
Start Year 2013
 
Description Demonstration of InFuse 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience
Results and Impact Demonstration of InFuse at the 2011 Census Roadshow at Manchester Town Hall
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity