About the Network

What is data linkage?

Secondary use of linked administrative data is often referred to as ‘data linkage,’ ‘record linkage,’ or ‘linked data.’  This is typically population based longitudinal data that has originally been collected for another purpose.  Linkage may take place across data sets in a single domain (i.e. health) or across domains (i.e. health, education, environment, early childhood, etc.) 

Why is it important?

Data linkage is an invaluable tool for population health research. It provides a completely unbiased picture of the entire population, is cost-effective relative to other data collection mechanisms, and enables studies to be done that could not otherwise be performed.

The Network role

The International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) facilitates communication between centres that specialize in data linkage and users of the linked data. The producers and users alike are committed to the systematic application of data linkage to produce community benefit in the population and health-related domains.

Over 30 participants from Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand attended the 2008 inaugural meeting of the IPDLN (then known as the IHDLN), held in London, UK and hosted by the Research and Development Directorate of the National Health Service. The IPDLN now boasts over 400 members.

Every two years, directorship of the Network moves sites. For 2015-2016 SAIL Databank, led by Professor David Ford, has taken the Director role.