Welcome to the Virtual Statistical System!

The VSS is an online resource for national statistical offices, other data producing agencies, data users, including policy makers, academics, students, or anyone who wants to know more about official statistics.  The VSS provides in-depth information on how effective statistical systems/organizations operate and the essential knowledge prerequisites of official statisticians working in these organizations.

The VSS is organized around three main components:

  1. Knowledge Base:  A repository of reference material in two main areas: i) the building blocks of National Statistical Systems, ii) Information on thematic or sector-specific statistical operations
  2. eLearning through a rich library of courses on 10 selected topics
  3. Knowledge Exchange designed to allow for the sharing of best practice and collaboration on issues related to national statistical systems development

The site's knowledge base is organized under Activities and Themes.

Activities encompass both general and specific aspects of statistical production processes, and are organized into ten groups according to a “value chain”:

1. Institutional Issues: Outlines the development of a satisfactory institutional framework.
2. Internal and Management Issues: Outlines the implementation of a satisfactory internal organizational and management structure.
3. ICT: Identifies the necessary Information and Communication Technology?
4. Registers, Frames, Censuses: Identifies the essential statistical infrastructure such as business registers, sampling frames, censuses such as population and housing censuses, agricultural censuses and business censuses, as well as classification systems.
5. Surveys: The use of surveys to collect information.
6. Methods: Describes appropriate statistical methods.
7. Integration Frameworks:  Compiles outcomes of many different kinds of surveys and data sources to one consistent conceptual framework.
8. Dissemination: Outlines the elements of a publication and dissemination strategy.
9. Use of Statistics: Examines user needs and the uses of a statistical framework. 
10. Data Quality: Credibility of statistics is highly dependent on data quality.

Themes are subject matter topics organized according to a standard classification of official statistical activities developed by the UN Economic Commission for Europe, OECD, and Eurostat, and are grouped into five areas:

1. Social and Demographic Statistics
2. Economic Statistics
3. Environment and Multi-Domain Statistics
4. Statistical Methods
5. Strategy and Managerial Issues of Official Statistics

When a specific Activity is selected, corresponding Themes are displayed. This function helps to identify the relationships between general, specific and detailed levels of information.

Many concepts fit equally under Activities or Themes. For example, Methods are important from both general and specific perspectives. However the content presented in each case is different.
For each topic of both Activities and Themes, information is presented in tabbed pages: Introduction, Methods, Tools, and Country Experiences. For the Themes, there are additional tabs for Indicators and Documents. Users can comment on any of the site's content.