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Purpose: The purpose of this standard is to ensure that methods are established and implemented to promote the accurate linking of data records.
Scope: The Census Bureau’s statistical quality standards apply to all information products released by the Census Bureau and the activities that generate those products, including products released to the public, sponsors, joint partners, or other customers. All Census Bureau employees and Special Sworn Status individuals must comply with these standards; this includes contractors and other individuals who receive Census Bureau funding to develop and release Census Bureau information products.
In particular, this standard applies to both automated and clerical record linkage used for statistical purposes. It covers linking that uses characteristics of an entity to determine whether multiple records refer to the same entity.
In addition to the global exclusions listed in the Preface, this standard does not apply to:
Requirement C4-1: Throughout all processes associated with linking, unauthorized release of protected information or administratively restricted information must be prevented by following federal laws (e.g., Title 13, Title 15, and Title 26), Census Bureau policies (e.g., Data Stewardship Policies), and additional provisions governing the use of the data (e.g., as may be specified in a memorandum of understanding or data-use agreement). (See Statistical Quality Standard S1, Protecting Confidentiality.)
Requirement C4-2: A plan must be developed that addresses:
Requirement C4-3: Record linkage processes must be developed and implemented to link data records accurately.
Sub-Requirement C4-3.1: Specifications and procedures for the record linkage systems must be developed and implemented.
Examples of issues that specifications and procedures for automated record linkage systems might address include:
Examples of issues that specifications and procedures for clerical record linkage systems might address include:
Sub-Requirement C4-3.2: Record linkage systems must be verified and tested to ensure that all components function as intended.
Examples of verification and testing activities for automated record linkage systems include:
Examples of verification and testing activities for clerical record linkage systems include:
Sub-Requirement C4-3.3: Training for the staff involved in clerical record linkage (as identified during planning) must be developed and provided.
Examples of training activities include:
Sub-Requirement C4-3.4: Systems and procedures must be developed and implemented to monitor and evaluate the accuracy of the record linkage operations and to take corrective actions if problems are identified.
Examples of monitoring and evaluation activities for automated record linkage operations include:
Examples of monitoring and evaluation activities for clerical record linkage operations include:
Requirement C4-4: Documentation needed to replicate and evaluate the linking operations must be produced. The documentation must be retained, consistent with applicable policies and data-use agreements, and must be made available to Census Bureau employees who need it to carry out their work. (See Statistical Quality Standard S2, Managing Data and Documents.)
Examples of documentation include: