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Web Data Collection at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: An Organizational View

Michael D. Levi and Richard Fecher


Building on the previous favorable experience of a unified public Web site for data dissemination, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wanted to implement a single point of entry for all agency collection systems with a common look and feel, both to facilitate access for those respondents who supply data to multiple surveys and to maintain a unified organizational presence. Thus BLS developed a centralized capability — the Internet Data Collection Facility (IDCF). The objective behind the IDCF project is to provide a uniform, manageable, and secure architecture for Bureau surveys to collect information over the Internet. At the same time individual surveys vary widely in scope and complexity, and the responsible program offices are reluctant to surrender control over the specifics of their collection instruments. This has led to a juggling act with both effective and inefficient components. The paper addresses the organizational approach and discusses some of the trade-offs involved.