SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics

Committee on Computing and Communications Research to Enable Better Use of Information Technology in Government

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

Committee on National Statistics

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

 

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics Committee on Computing and Communications Research to Enable Better Use of Information Technology in Government Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications Committee on National Statistics Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council   NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation under grant EIA-9809120. Support for the work of the Committee on National Statistics is provided by a consortium of federal agencies through a grant between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation (grant number SBR-9709489). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07097-X Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press (http://www.nap.edu) 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20055800-624-6242202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) Copyright 2000 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics COMMITTEE ON COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH TO ENABLE BETTER USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN GOVERNMENT WILLIAM SCHERLIS, Carnegie Mellon University, Chair W. BRUCE CROFT, University of Massachusetts at Amherst DAVID DeWITT, University of Wisconsin at Madison SUSAN DUMAIS, Microsoft Research WILLIAM EDDY, Carnegie Mellon University EVE GRUNTFEST, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs DAVID KEHRLEIN, Governor's Office of Emergency Services, State of California SALLIE KELLER-McNULTY, Los Alamos National Laboratory MICHAEL R. NELSON, IBM Corporation CLIFFORD NEUMAN, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California Staff JON EISENBERG, Program Officer and Study Director RITA GASKINS, Project Assistant (through September 1999) DANIEL D. LLATA, Senior Project Assistant

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD DAVID D. CLARK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair JAMES CHIDDIX, Time Warner Cable JOHN M. CIOFFI, Stanford University ELAINE COHEN, University of Utah W. BRUCE CROFT, University of Massachusetts, Amherst A.G. FRASER, AT&T Corporation SUSAN L. GRAHAM, University of California at Berkeley JUDITH HEMPEL, University of California at San Francisco JEFFREY M. JAFFE, IBM Corporation ANNA KARLIN, University of Washington BUTLER W. LAMPSON, Microsoft Corporation EDWARD D. LAZOWSKA, University of Washington DAVID LIDDLE, Interval Research TOM M. MITCHELL, Carnegie Mellon University DONALD NORMAN, UNext.com RAYMOND OZZIE, Groove Networks DAVID A. PATTERSON, University of California at Berkeley CHARLES SIMONYI, Microsoft Corporation BURTON SMITH, Tera Computer Company TERRY SMITH, University of California at Santa Barbara LEE SPROULL, New York University MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Scientist JERRY R. SHEEHAN, Senior Program Officer ALAN S. INOUYE, Program Officer JON EISENBERG, Program Officer GAIL PRITCHARD, Program Officer JANET BRISCOE, Office Manager DAVID DRAKE, Project Assistant MARGARET MARSH, Project Assistant DAVID PADGHAM, Project Assistant MICKELLE RODGERS RODRIGUEZ, Senior Project Assistant SUZANNE OSSA, Senior Project Assistant DANIEL D. LLATA, Senior Project Assistant

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS PETER M. BANKS, Veridian ERIM International, Inc., Co-chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-chair WILLIAM F. BALLHAUS, JR., Lockheed Martin Corporation SHIRLEY CHIANG, University of California at Davis MARSHALL H. COHEN, California Institute of Technology RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University SAMUEL H. FULLER, Analog Devices, Inc. JERRY P. GOLLUB, Haverford College MICHAEL F. GOODCHILD, University of California at Santa Barbara MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, JR., Carnegie Institution CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation, Inc. KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota JOHN R. KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company (retired) MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania DUSA M. McDUFF, State University of New York at Stony Brook JANET L. NORWOOD, Former Commissioner, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics M. ELISABETH PATÉ-CORNELL, Stanford University NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory ROBERT J. SPINRAD, Xerox PARC (retired) MYRON F. UMAN, Acting Executive Director

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS JOHN E. ROLPH, University of Southern California, Chair JOSEPH G. ALTONJI, Northwestern University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania JULIE DAVANZO, RAND, Santa Monica, California WILLIAM F. EDDY, Carnegie Mellon University HERMANN HABERMANN, United Nations, New York WILLIAM D. KALSBEEK, University of North Carolina RODERICK J.A. LITTLE, University of Michigan THOMAS A. LOUIS, University of Minnesota CHARLES F. MANSKI, Northwestern University EDWARD B. PERRIN, University of Washington FRANCISCO J. SAMANIEGO, University of California at Davis RICHARD L. SCHMALENSEE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MATTHEW D. SHAPIRO, University of Michigan ANDREW A. WHITE, Director

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics COMMISSION ON BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES AND EDUCATION NEIL J. SMELSER, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, Chair ALFRED BLUMSTEIN, Carnegie Mellon University JACQUELYNNE ECCLES, University of Michigan STEPHEN E. FIENBERG, Carnegie Mellon University BARUCH FISCHHOFF, Carnegie Mellon University JOHN F. GEWEKE, University of Iowa ELEANOR E. MACCOBY, Stanford University CORA B. MARRETT, University of Massachusetts BARBARA J. McNEIL, Harvard Medical School ROBERT A. MOFFITT, Johns Hopkins University RICHARD J. MURNANE, Harvard University T. PAUL SCHULTZ, Yale University KENNETH A. SHEPSLE, Harvard University RICHARD M. SHIFFRIN, Indiana University BURTON H. SINGER, Princeton University CATHERINE E. SNOW, Harvard University MARTA TIENDA, Princeton University BARBARA TORREY, Executive Director

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics Preface As part of its new Digital Government program, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requested that the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) undertake an in-depth study of how information technology research and development could more effectively support advances in the use of information technology (IT) in government. CSTB's Committee on Computing and Communications Research to Enable Better Use of Information Technology in Government was established to organize two specific application-area workshops and conduct a broader study, drawing in part on those workshops, of how IT research can enable improved and new government services, operations, and interactions with citizens. The committee was asked to identify ways to foster interaction among computing and communications researchers, federal managers, and professionals in specific domains that could lead to collaborative research efforts. By establishing research links between these communities and creating collaborative mechanisms aimed at meeting relevant requirements, NSF hopes to stimulate thinking in the computing and communications research community and throughout government about possibilities for advances in technology that will support a variety of digital initiatives by the government. The first phase of the project focused on two illustrative application areas that are inherently governmental in nature—crisis management and federal statistics. In each of these areas, the study committee convened a workshop designed to facilitate interaction between stakeholders from

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics the individual domains and researchers in computing and communications systems and to explore research topics that might be of relevance government-wide. The first workshop in the series explored information technology research for crisis management.1 The second workshop, called “Information Technology Research for Federal Statistics” and held on February 9 and 10, 1999, in Washington, D.C., is summarized in this report. Participants in the second workshop, which explored IT research opportunities of relevance to the collection, analysis, and dissemination of federal statistics, were drawn from a number of communities: IT research, IT research management, federal statistics, and academic statistics (see the appendix for the full agenda of the workshop and a list of participants). The workshop provided an opportunity for these communities to interact and to learn how they might collaborate more effectively in developing improved systems to support federal statistics. Two keynote speeches provided a foundation by describing developments in the statistics and information technology research communities. The first panel presented four case studies. Other panels then explored a range of ways in which IT is currently used in the federal statistical enterprise and articulated a set of challenges and opportunities for IT research in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of federal statistics. At the conclusion of the workshop, a set of parallel breakout sessions was held to permit workshop participants to look into opportunities for collaborative research between the IT and statistics communities and to identify some important research topics. This report is based on those presentations and discussions. Because the development of specific requirements would of course be beyond the scope of a single workshop, this report cannot presume to be a comprehensive analysis of IT requirements in the federal statistical system. Nor does the report explore all aspects of the work of the federal statistical community. For example, the workshop did not specifically address the decennial census. Presentations and discussions focused on individual or household surveys; other surveys depend on data obtained from business and other organizations where there would, for example, be less emphasis on developing better survey interview instruments because the information is in many cases already being collected through automated systems. Because the workshop emphasized survey work in the federal statistical system, the report does not specifically address the full range of statistics applications that arise in the work of the federal government (e.g., biostatistical 1   Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council. 1999. Summary of a Workshop on Information Technology Research for Crisis Management. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics work at the National Institutes of Health). However, by examining a representative range of IT applications, and through discussions between IT researchers and statistics professionals, the workshop was able to identify key issues that arise in the application of IT to federal statistics work and to explore possible research opportunities. This report is an overview by the committee of topics covered and issues raised at the workshop. Where possible, related issues raised at various points during the workshop have been consolidated. In preparing the report, the committee drew on the contributions of speakers, panelists, and participants, who together richly illustrated the role of IT in federal statistics, issues surrounding its use, possible research opportunities, and process and implementation issues related to such research. To these contributions the committee added some context-setting material and examples. The report remains, however, primarily an account of the presentations and discussions at the workshop. Synthesis of the workshop experience into a more general, broader set of findings and recommendations for IT research in the digital government context was deferred to the second phase of the committee's work. This second phase is drawing on information from the two workshops, as well as from additional briefings and other work on the topic of digital government, to develop a final report that will provide recommendations for refining the NSF's Digital Government program and stimulating IT innovation more broadly across government. Support for this project came from NSF, and the committee acknowledges Larry Brandt of the NSF for his encouragement of this effort. The National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics, CNSTAT, was a cosponsor of this workshop and provided additional resources in support of the project. This is a reporting of workshop discussions, and the committee thanks all participants for the insights they contributed through their workshop presentations, discussions, breakout sessions, and subsequent interactions. The committee also wishes to thank the CSTB staff for their assistance with the workshop and the preparation of the report. In particular, the committee thanks Jon Eisenberg, CSTB program officer, who made significant contributions to the organization of the workshop and the assembly of the report, which could not have been written without his help and facilitation. Jane Bortnick Griffith played a key role during her term as interim CSTB director in helping conceive and initiate this project. In addition, the committee thanks Daniel Llata for his contributions in preparing the report for publication. The committee also thanks Andy White from the National Research Council 's Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education for his support and assistance with this project. Finally, the committee is grateful to the reviewers for helping to sharpen and improve the report through their comments. Responsibility for the report remains with the committee.

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report was reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with the procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Larry Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Terrence Ireland, Consultant, Diane Lambert, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Judith Lessler, Research Triangle Institute, Teresa Lunt, SRI International, Janet Norwood, Former Commissioner, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bruce Trumbo, California State University at Hayward, and Ben Schneiderman, University of Maryland. Although the individuals listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the study committee and the NRC.

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics Contents  1   INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT   1      Overview of Federal Statistics,   1      Activities of the Federal Statistics Agencies,   2      Data Collection,   3      Processing and Analysis,   7      Creation and Dissemination of Statistical Products,   9      Organization of the Federal Statistical System,   10      Information Technology Innovation in Federal Statistics,   14  2   RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES   17      Human-Computer Interaction,   17      User Focus,   19      Universal Access,   19      Literacy, Visualization, and Perception,   20      Database Systems,   23      Data Mining,   25      Metadata,   29      Information Integration,   30      Survey Instruments,   31      Limiting Disclosure,   34      Trustworthiness of Information Systems,   41

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SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH for Federal Statistics  3   INTERACTIONS FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION IN FEDERAL STATISTICAL WORK   44     APPENDIX WORKSHOP AGENDA AND PARTICIPANTS   49