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The last couple of months, Statistics Netherlands has been working on an architectural model of the data collection domain, in terms of functions and information objects. The main purpose of this model is to be the starting point for overhauling the application landscape.

Lately, we have made an attempt to map our concepts to GSIM. We are not satisfied with the results of our attempt and are left with quite a number of questions regarding GSIM and its application in our local context.

The purpose of this document is spark discussion in the international community by explaining (in broad terms) our model of the data collection domain and showing a little of the problems that we encounter in our attempt at mapping our model to GSIM.

We believe that part of the problem is the positioning of GSIM as a vocabulary for describing statistical concepts. In the current version of GSIM, we see an unbalance in the degree of abstraction. Certain areas are very abstract, other areas in the model seem to be on a more logical or even almost physical (implementation) level. Also, some parts are very tailored towards certain applications. As our intent is to create a model that is abstract (enough) to cover a number of current and future developments, we see problems in the use of GSIM in those areas that are on a more logical level or that are focused on certain concrete applications. These concrete applications t tend to be current practices rather than future ones.

By “application” in this sense we mean making conceptual functions more specific by describing not only what the function does, but also how it does it, for instance by applying a certain (set of) method(s). Since there are usually many ways in which a conceptual function can be realized, it seems restricting to model only a few possible ways of implementing a certain concept.


Specific Suggestion

While studying GSIM, we found some other areas where we do not clearly understand the definitions and descriptions. We list just a few of them here.

Instrument and Instrument Implementation are GSIM objects that seem to be more concrete in nature than other objects in GSIM. We question whether (in the current state of affairs) detailed modeling of such concepts is needed in GSIM.


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