Moving on!

Are you and your agency tired of the international statistical metadata circuit?

Do you want real results?

Then we have a suggestion!

One full week of consultancy at your office. You will learn everything you need to solve your metadata modelling issues.

– Strategy

– Existing standards that can be modified and used

– Key insights

– Modelling

The model that will be discussed and explained is the Abelin model for classification management. This model illustrates how concrete modelling problems can be solved.

We will also use key insights to analyse your existings systems and existing international proposals (DDI, SDMX, etc).

The total prize for this is 10.000 EUR, all included. One of our associated consultants will be at your office for a full working week.

Please note, that this offer is only valid if and when a sufficient number of NSOs have placed an order. At least three NSOs within in each mayor geographical area has to place an order (Europe, America, Asia, etc).

You can contact us via e-mail: isos.meta[@]


I apologize for the hiatus regarding the review of Bo Sundgren.

The reason is the unprecedented traffic on this blog, lately. Perhaps many are now back from summer vacations?

Our perhaps more people are getting frustrated with the lack of progress in international groups?

For example, the next METIS work-shop (October) shows signs of despondency. They have limited themselves to seminars about DDI. No progress, no real development.

Sure, DDI is fine, but it is not a solution to core metadata modelling issues.

Whatever the reasons, I will allow some time for new and old readers to catch up.

Bo Sundgren´s blog

Professor Bo Sundgren now has a blog, and on it we find a library with his publications for download.

This is an opportunity to evaluate the international metadata circuit through the production of one of its most prominent individuals.

I have early discussed responsabilities. Who is responsible for the forty year running international metadata fraud?

I identified Bo Sundgren as one of those most responsible.


Because, forty years later he has still no been able to produce a real (relational database) model that fills the requirements of an NSO integrated system.

In fact, he has not even been able to define the requirements of such a system on a sufficiently concrete and actionable level.

In a series of posts, I will try to use the publications on Sundgren´s blog to illustrate the anatomy of the international metadata fraud.

Erik van Ingen – and the FAO dirty tricks campaign

The FAO could not take it. The criticisms of SDMX were too much, so they had to initiate a dirty-tricks campaign.

They had an employee (or associate) called Erik van Ingen use Twitter for a personalized attack. Of course, under the guise that FAO has no responsibility for what their employees write on the Internet, even when it is directly related to FAO activities.

There are many different people working at the UN, and in other international bodies, and they do not always have a democratic mind set.

So, here is a lesson in democracy:

1. If you want to be taken seriously, you respond with an argument based on facts, you do not engage in personalized attacks.

2. Freedom of expression hurts, if you are in power and have something to hide. It hurts a lot, and that is the way it is supposed to be, in a democracy. This is a great thing, and it should be treasured.

3. If Erik van Ingen, or any other associate of FAO, has objections to anything that I have written, they are welcome to respond on this blog. My question is: Why have they not? Why the personalized attacks, instead?

This goes the same for everyone else that has been named or shamed on this blog. You are very welcome to comment on all the posts. As long as you do not do this, the assumption must be that you have nothing to object to the contents of what I have written.

Here are some more names at the FAO, who are involved in this:

Jacques Diouf (General Director)

Jacques Yves (Manager IT)

Frankly, corrupt international 0rganizations and dirty tricks campaigns against critics is no way to build a better society, but it does confirm the increasingly critical image that we have of large international organizations.

Predicting the future

The only thing we know about the future is that we can not predict it. Yet, it is a good excercise to try. It helps us to think more clearly about the present.

What will happen with statistical metadata during the next three years?

– SDMX shows all the signs of classical failure in metadata projects. I had stronger hopes for SDMX, but the information from the expert group meeting suggests that SDMX as a standard, even for data exchange, is grinding to a halt.

This follows from the way SDMX was concieved and managed, right from the start. Nobody ever questioned the idea of a web registry and the modelling was left to a consultant with a lonesome cowboy approach. I think that is were SDMX went wrong. International data exchange is better of with just an XML-based update to GESMES – without the whole registry thing. And a new model requires much more dialogue and convincing arguments.

That is my prediction:

– SDMX will be reduced to an XML message definition, and one or two documents with guide-lines for documentation.

– UNECE/METIS will try to keep up appearances, but they are already a lame duck. Everyone realises that they lack both focus, competence and integrity.

The final report from the METIS meeting can be read as a total defeat for the METIS steering group. The METIS participants have listened to and understood the message from this blog, and they support it. They now want real efforts for standardisation and they want to focus on key practical issues, such as developing better classification databases.

But, no one in the international metadata circuit can deliver this. When the focus is on results, it is no longer possible to hide the fact that nobody knows how to achieve these results.

So, interest in the UNECE/METIS meetings will start to decline and people will start to look elsewhere for real competence and real results.

I will not be surprised if a completely new steering group for the UNECE/METIS will invite me to hold a seminar at the 2013 meeting, and explain once and for all what the solution is to all the classical statistical metadata issues.

This blog will become an archive

This blog will soon become an archive. There are only a few loose ends to tie up, first (such as commenting on the conclusions from the UNECE/METIS meeting).

This blog has been active for more than a year, from the beginning of 2009 until the recent UNECE/METIS meeting. The intention from the start was to end the blog after that meeting.

If I would continue longer, I would be making the same mistake as the international metadata circuit, i.e. I would waste peoples time by repeating what has already been said.

However, one or two very interesting pieces of news may appear now and then…

Happy new year!

2010 promises to be an interesting year for information systems in official statistics.

Here are some of the planned themes on this blog:

1. 2009 in a nutshell. 52 weeks and 70 posts. A pick of punch from the isosmeta blog, maybe even with one or two interesting additions…

2. Part A is a fraud. Part B is corrupt. What about part C? Time to take a closer look at the most promising part of the UNECE/METIS framework.

3. SDMX revealed. Key insight no. 1 applied to the SDMX project. What is SDMX really all about – beyond the hype?

4. The metadata dialogues. The dialogue is a time-honored format that can be used to clarify complex issues and illustrate the minds of those involved. An information systems expert, with no prior knowledge about statistical metadata, visits the UNECE/METIS meeting, and starts to ask basic questions. Listen to Tor Sundberg, Stan Willman, Martin Zug, and the rest, explain what statistical metadata is, to this expert.

You also have the standing features of this blog:

1. Join the FUNECE/MESTIS project and build a truly standard classification database and data registry, at almost no cost in time and work.

2. The FUNECE/MESTIS global forum. (1) Free consultancy – just send an e-mail. (2) Publish and comment case studies. (3) Publish and swap open source code.