APDU Conference: “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”

I am confident that all of you have heard this phrase in association with wedding ceremonies and how the brides prepare for the big event. Well, do you know why this is also an appropriate description for our big event, the APDU Annual Conference, to be held July 17-18, 2018?

A recurring theme throughout the agenda for this summer’s conference is the use of shared data from administrative records and surveys that are integrated in ways to create new and more informative data products for decision making. There are eight sessions focused on this issue and how the linking of administrative records and surveys is being prescribed and executed by federal, state, local and private organizations.

So how does the integration of administrative records and surveys by producers of public data relate to bridal preparations? First, this is not that new a process. Demographers have long combined data from birth and death certificates with census data to estimate fertility, mortality and migration rates. So that is the “Old” element which stands for continuity with the past. The “New” is meant to stand for optimism for the future. The “New” technical developments in record matching are greatly increasing the ability to link individual records from independent sources. However with this increased power have come concerns about privacy issues and maintaining public trust. “Something borrowed” because sharing increases the value of each of the items that are being shared. This requires overcoming legal barriers and institutional boundaries to reap the harvest of shared data. Finally, “something blue” stands for purity in the marriage ceremony. For the production of public data to assist policy making, it means that the integration of administrative records and survey data promise to compensate for the statistical weaknesses of each. The promise of more accurate data that are more representative, reliable and detailed.

I encourage you to accept our invitation to APDU’s Annual Conference, “Shaping The Future: The Promise Of Public Data To Inform Decisions.” Be a part of these exciting developments. Perhaps even bring along a bit of rice or bird seed to toss into the air as we celebrate these developments for public data.

APDU Past President