Statistical Indicators
Benchmarking the Information Society



There is no doubt among experts that in order to understand the socio-economic impacts as well as changes and developments in the domains of the Information Society, indicators on

  • supply and availability,
  • penetration and
  • patterns of usage

particularly by users, i.e. households and establishments / enterprises, are needed. In many cases these are not readily available from official statistical sources but need to be collected by special user surveys. In addition, these statistics need to be internationally comparable, and therefore based on a common set of definitions and a common measurement framework. Such a framework is provided in SIBIS (WP1). Also, and as outlined by the OECD Working Party on Indicators for the Information Society, it could be meaningful to develop metrics related to the areas of the S-shaped path for the diffusion of new technologies. Accordingly the three broad areas to be covered by indicators are:

  • readiness;
  • intensity;
  • impact.

This has been illustrated using the example of electronic commerce (OECD Working Party on Indicators for the Information Society: defining and Measuring E-Commerce: A Status Report, October 1999, P. 7).

It is against this background that different types of surveys have been carried out by the SIBIS project.
The results of the surveys serve various purposes:

  • Firstly, they document the current state of European society with regard to a range of important and politically relevant Information Society indicators. The issues dealt with in the surveys reflect current objectives of EU initiatives regarding Information Society development, like the eEurope initiative and other policy frameworks.
  • Secondly, in some instances they provide time-series of indicator values, thereby enabling inferences to be drawn about the rate of change of these indicators. They will pilot a number of new indicators which take account of the rapidly changing nature of eEurope.
  • Thirdly, the survey results provide an unrivalled, unique and representative single source of reliable data on the current and medium term supply and demand aspects in the Information Society domains across the EU Member States. For specific domains, i.e. those currently already worked on and covered by the partners in comparable projects, where also representative European-wide surveys of the population and establishments have been and will be carried out (e.g. e-commerce, e-work, IST supported social care for the elderly), time series analysis results could be provided.
  • Fourthly, the work contributes to the development of policy in the area and helps the European Commission as well as national governments in EU Member States to set RTD and investment priorities and inform policy and strategy development at all policy levels. It can also be used by private companies for strategy development.