Content-oriented guidelines

The Content-Oriented Guidelines (COGs) are a set of recommendations within the scope of the SDMX standard that are designed to maximise interoperability. They are intended to be applicable to all statistical domains.

The COGs focus on harmonising specific concepts and terminology that are common to a large number of statistical domains. Such harmonisation helps achieve an even more efficient exchange of comparable data and metadata, and builds on existing experience from implementation.

The COGs cover cross-domain concepts, code lists, subject-matter domains, a glossary, and implementation-specific guidelines.

Cross-domain concepts in SDMX describe concepts relevant to many, if not all, statistical domains. SDMX recommends using these concepts whenever feasible in SDMX structures and messages to promote the reuse and exchange of statistical information and related metadata between organisations. Examples of concepts include 'Reference area', 'Statistical Unit' and 'Time Period'. Each concept is described in a standard way with an ID, description, context and presentation. Statistical concepts that are used in a Data Structure Definition (DSD) or Metadata Structure Definition (MSD) are brought together in an artefact called a concept scheme.

Code lists are predefined sets of terms from which some statistical coded concepts take their values. SDMX cross-domain code lists are used to support cross-domain concepts.

A statistical subject-matter domain refers to a statistical activity that has common characteristics with respect to variables, concepts and methodologies for data collection and the whole statistical data compilation process.

The SDMX Glossary contains concepts and related definitions used in structural and reference metadata of international organisations and national data-producing agencies. It recommends using a common terminology to facilitate communication and understanding. The overall message of the SDMX Glossary is: if a term is used, then its precise meaning should correspond to the Glossary definition.

For more information have a look at the recommended practices offered by the SDMX Content-Oriented Guidelines.