Tutorial:Dedicated section versus Statistics Explained

This tutorial provides an answer to a question often raised by Eurostat author/production units on the distinction between their dedicated section(s) on the Eurostat portal and Statistics Explained:

  • what are the main differences between a dedicated section and Statistics Explained as dissemination channels?
  • which information should be disseminated via a dedicated section and which via Statistics Explained?
  • how should they be interlinked?

The answers, elaborated below, can be summarised as follows:

  • a dedicated section is a mini-portal for a specific statistical topic or policy area, a set of links to content stored elsewhere, without content of its own except brief introductions;
  • Statistics Explained is an online publication platform for published content (which may, but need not be also available as paper/PDF): statistical description/analysis and background information, in the form of text accompanied by tables, graphs and maps.

Dedicated section

The defining characteristics of a dedicated section are:

  • no own content except brief and general introductions where and if needed;
  • portal = set of links to content elsewhere:
  • data in database, 'most popular' or main tables;
  • metadata (esms files, methodological manuals, ...);
  • downloadable PDF publications;
  • a selection of highly relevant external links (other European Commission sites, OECD, UN, ECB, WHO, ...).
  • and, last but not least, the most relevant part of Statistics Explained (not to its Main page!);
  • specific, flexible and topical:
  • created or taken out again according to policy and users' needs;
  • not necessarily corresponding to stable hierarchy of statistical (sub)themes (although obviously some overlap exists);
  • list of dedicated sections, as a result, changes fairly frequently and is more ad hoc and temporary than the stable statistical themes.

Statistics Explained

The relevant characteristics of Statistics Explained:

  • publication platform (both collaboration wiki and dissemination channel) for all Eurostat's published content (to a large extent replacing paper-only publications of the past):
  • statistical articles presenting description and analysis of data;
  • background articles on methods, nomenclatures, context, ...;
  • online publications (= briefly introduced table of contents linking to individual articles);
  • glossary items.
  • linking to further information (portal, but only as a secondary function):
  • in Statistics Explained (See also section);
  • on the Eurostat portal (Further Eurostat information section: database, main tables, dedicated section, ...);
  • on other websites (External links section, also linking to other Commission websites).

Practical guidelines

Taking into account the different nature and functions of a dedicated section versus Statistics Explained, production units organising statistical dissemination on a particular topic should follow these guidelines:

  • no content in a dedicated section, except for relatively short introductions;
A dedicated section should be an overview and start page where users can access all information on a particular topic which however is stored elsewhere and reached through links.
  • publish commented data and metadata via Statistics Explained[1]
Use Statistics Explained to publish statistical articles and background articles at different levels of detail, online publications (coherent sets of articles which may be converted to a paper/PDF version) and glossary items defining terms.
  • cross-link the dedicated section and Statistics Explained at a deep level:
For maximum user value:
  • on the dedicated section page (top left) provide a specific deep link to Statistics Explained: to a theme entry or theme category page (see overview])[2], to a statistical or methodological topic category, or even to one single article.
  • in Statistics Explained each article contains a subchapter 'Dedicated section' where a link to the relevant dedicated section(s) is provided.

Notes

  1. Complemented by other content dissemination channels like press releases, derived statistical and methodological PDF publications, online database, main (most popular) tables, metadata files, ...
  2. Statistical themes with a lot of articles have a theme entry page, for the others with few pages the alphabetical theme category page is sufficient.