Glossary:Eurostat database - basic terminology

Eurostat's database (Eurobase) is often described or associated with different concepts with which a user might not be familiar. This specific terminology is defined here.

Datasets (multi-dimensional tables)

A dataset is a multi-dimensional table used to store the base data, more appropriate for use by statistical and other experts via special applications. Datasets might have up to 8 dimensions. They are accessible online through the Data Explorer in Database by theme and in the bulk download (see 'Data').

Main tables (predefined tables)

Main tables (predefined tables) are used to provide easy access to the main statistical indicators. They are based in general on datasets and are derived from them [1] . They are predefined, non-modifiable and presented as two or three dimensional tables. They are accessible through the TGM (Tables, Graphs and Maps) in Tables by themes and Tables on EU policy and in the bulk download.

Please note that "Tables on EU policy" presents a selection of main tables grouped according to specific EU policies, i.e. all main tables available in "Tables on EU policy" can also be found in "Tables by themes".

Code lists (dictionaries)

Code lists are structural metadata. They provide the coding for the dimensions used in a table, e.g. UNIT, AGE, SEX, etc. All code lists currently used in Eurobase are available in the code list (see 'dic'), in EN, FR and DE. Code lists are very relevant when writing table titles: the terminology used in table titles should be coherent with code lists where applicable.

Data navigation tree

Access to Eurostat's datasets and main (= predefined) tables is given via the navigation tree. The software behind the navigation tree (TMT) manages the tree structure and the titles of tables (EN, FR and DE).

Bulk download

The bulk download allows downloading individual tables or the complete database. For details see

Structural metadata

Structural metadata linked to data tables include the headings: i.e. titles and subtitles. Titles are available for all tables whereas subtitles are only available and used for predefined tables.

Reference metadata[2]

Short descriptions give the basic and essential information concerning the understanding of a table. They are only available for predefined tables.

See also


  1. The links between predefined tables and datasets can be found here: : Eurobase source datasets for 'Tables by themes'
  2. Reference metadata as presented in the ESMS are not covered here; for further information about ESMS please contact Unit B5 Reference Metadata team (ESTAT-METADATA).