A web app for searching New Zealand's IDI
The IDI Search App allows researchers to explore what variables are available in the IDI, and provides descriptions and SQL information about each variable. The app uses Data Dictionaries from Statistics NZ to collate collection, dataset, and variable information, which is stored within a relational database. The front end is powered by NextJS, allowing us to provide an interface for users to list all variables or, more usefully, those variables, datasets, and collections that match a specific search term. We also periodically obtain a list of variables in the current IDI refresh, and display this information on each variable’s information page so that researchers can see whether they might need to access an older refresh to get the data they are after.
Recently the app has been seen by Statistics New Zealand who have shown a lot of interest in assisting us with both publicising the existence of the app to the wider IDI community, as well as working with us to improve their own metadata practices. The goal of this collaboration will be to improve the quality of metadata that can then feed into the app.
The current feature set includes:
- information about a subset of agencies, collections, datasets, and variables where we have received the necessary data dictionaries
- listing of collections belonging to an agency; datasets in a collection; variables in a dataset
- for datasets, a list of ‘Linking’ variables is also displayed (either agency or IDI linking variables)
- search bar to search all fields to filter the master list of agencies/collections/datasets/variables, with the search term highlighted in descriptions
- display of refresh availability to see which IDI refreshes a variable is available in (this does not apply to Adhoc tables)
Future work will:
- display links to other names of variables or datasets, so researchers can update code for new refreshes
- allow for multiple search terms (AND, OR, etc.)
- continue adding more data dictionaries
- add facilities for users to register and provide comments on agencies/collections/datasets/variables
The app can be viewed at: https://idisearch.terourou.org/
If you would like to provide feedback or offer support for the app’s development, please get in touch with Tom Elliott.