The data linkage environment

Chris Dibben*, Mark Elliot, Heather Gowans, Darren Lightfoot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter gives an introduction to the data linkage environment. It starts with an exploration of the law and the linkage of personal data, outlining why a special data linkage environment is a legal necessity. The key elements of the environment that may allow a data stewardship organisation to assert that data are functionally anonymous is then outlined. The main ways that these elements are organised into models is then identified. Looking across existing centres around the world, a number of the 'archetypal' models for data access and data linkage can be identified. The chapter provides an outline of these models outlined. Finally, four case studies from different parts of the world are discussed. These relate to population data of British Columbia, the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank of the U.K., Centre for Data Linkage (CDL) of Australia, and Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL), Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethodological Developments in Data Linkage
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9781119072454, 9781118745878
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2016


  • Centre for Data Linkage
  • Centre for Health Record Linkage
  • Data access
  • Data linkage environment
  • Functional anonymity
  • Population Data BC
  • SAIL Databank


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