This guide is intended to introduce you to Beyond 20/20 Web Data Server
by carrying out a simple and hopefully typical research task using the IMF's
Balance of Payments Statistics (BOPS).
||Visualise and download the Net Current Account figures for the United
Kingdom for the period 1995-2004
It is divided into three stages:
Finding and selecting the data
Visualising the data
- Downloading the data
Approx. time to complete: 20 minutes.
A4 worksheet version of this task can be printed in pdf
For help, please contact the ESDS
Stage i) Finding and selecting
Choose IMF BOPS data from the 'Direct Links to data' drop down list
on the ESDS International website, or via the following url - http://esds.mcc.ac.uk/wds_bops/
to access the IMF BOPS data.
Input UK HE/FE institutional username and password in the login
window. If you do not have a UK HE/FE institutional id, please visit the login
help pages within the Access and Preservation section of ESDS.
If you have not already registered with the ESDS you will then be automatically
redirected to complete an online registration after which you will need to
agree to the IMF special conditions prior to being able to access the data
using only your UK HE/FE institutional username and password.
On entering the Beyond 20/20 Web Data Server site for the IMF BOPS data you
should see a folder labeled Balance of Payment Statistics.
Expand the 'Balance of Payment Statistics' folder then select the 'BOPS Country Data' folder then the 'Country Tables View' folder and finally choose 'Standard Presentation' to reveal the tables that it contains.
Scroll down and select ‘United Kingdom. Table 2. Standard Presentation. (Billions of U.S. dollars)’
By default the table will be populated with data but
this will be more information than you want.
Click on the 'Select Items to View' icon and select 'Data Categories' from the list.
Use the 'Clear all' icon to remove all default selected
On the left hand side of the screen you will see the available dimensions under Columns, Rows and Other headings. The current dimension is highlighted, for example in the screen shot above the Data Categories dimension is highlighted in grey and a list of the items available for selection within that dimension are shown on the right hand side of the page. The dimensions in IMF BOPS Annual table are as follows:
Rows: Data Categories
Others: None (there are only two dimensions in this table)
Each BOPS Data Category’s name on the Beyond 20/20 WDS interface has a unique identifier known as a Series code which is a 4 character code in square brackets, e.g. [Code: 2150..] for ‘Goods for processing: exports f.o.b.’ These are important for using and understanding BOPS within the Beyond 20/20 WDS interface:
- The first digit identifies the section of the balance of payments, i.e. 2 = Credit/ Exports, 3 = Debit/ Imports and 4= Net (the difference between credit and debit)
- The second, third and fourth digits are used to classify balance of payments components, e.g. the current accounts are coded 993, the capital account 994 and the financial account 995.
Note: For further information please view the Explanation
of the BOPS series code on the Beyond 20/20 WDS interface given in the
BOPS comprehensive dataset user guide.
The Data Categories items which we want to find for this worked example are the
Current Account figures. The IMF's
topical list of Balance of Payments codes lists the codes for each of
the required series items, i.e. Current account = 993, Goods = 100, Services
= 200, Income = 300, Current transfers = 379.
Using the digit representing the section of the balance of payments, followed by the three digits identifying the balance of payment components that the codes required are:
- 4993 = UK Net Current Account
- 4100 = UK Net Goods
- 4200 = UK Net Services
- 4300 = UK Net Income
- 4379 = UK Net Current Transfers
Input '4993' into the search input box and click 'Search'.
Select the Data Category item CURRENT ACCOUNT:  by placing a tick in the check box next to it. Then search for the next code, i.e. 4100 and tick A. GOODS [Code: 4100..]. Continue to search for and select each Data Category code in turn. Once completed move onto the 'Year' dimension.
Move onto next dimension 'Year' using the 'Select Items to View' tool.
Click on Select items to view > Year.
Use the 'Clear all' tool to remove existing selections.
Note: You can also switch dimensions by clicking
on the dimension name - both options are illustrated in the screen shot below.
Note: You can also organise the dimensions by using
the "Set Dimension Order" option from the toolbar..
Tick Select Range and click on 1995 tick box followed by 2004 tick box. This will select all years within the range specified, i.e. the ten year period from 1995 to 2004.
Note: There is a new profile function in Beyond 20/20. Profiles enable you to save your selections from each dimension (for example, country or series) of the database. When you return to the database you can re-activate your previously saved profiles. Selections in each dimension are saved individually so you can save selections in as many or few dimensions are you want.
For example, say you wish to select data for a number of countries. Once you have selected your countries you can then save this selection as a named profile by clicking on the profile icon then choosing 'Save current selections as a profile' option: Beyond 20/20 will then remember the countries you have selected and store this selection as a named profile for you to use in future sessions. The procedure can be repeated for any other dimension of the database.
Each time you log on, Beyond 20/20 will recognize who you are and can retrieve your previously saved selections for that database. This means that the next time you wish to run the same query you can click on the profile icon then select 'Activate profile' to reopen your saved selections. The profiles will be saved until you choose to delete them.
You have now completed the Finding and Selecting data stage and can move
on to visualising your data.
Stage ii) Visualising
There are two ways of visualising data in Beyond 20/20 WDS - in chart or
View the report in table format by using the 'Show Table' button at the top of the screen.
In the default view of the table which appears, only the 'Data Categories' are shown as rows and the 'Years' are shown as columns.
Note: the format of the table can be rearranged either by dragging and dropping the dimension headings or by using the 'Set Dimension Order' icon situated in the top left of the interface.
View the report in chart format by using the 'Chart' tab at the top of the screen.
In the example screen shot below, the chart shows the 'Net Current Account figures for the United Kingdom for the period 1995-2004'.
Use the 'Chart Types' icon to change chart type and the 'View printable version' icon to print the chart.
Save the chart image, use Alt + Print Screen and paste into
a paint program as right clicking to 'Save picture as' only saves the chart
itself and not the chart key or heading.
Stage iii) Downloading
Return to the 'Table' tab to download the data to your computer. Manipulate the table into desired format using the dimension headers as the table layout and contents are downloaded exactly as they appear on screen.
Use the 'Download' icon and select your desired download format.
The rest of the process is the same as downloading any file from the web.
Once you have downloaded the data, you can see information on how to cite the data towards the top of the file.
Congratulations you have successfully completed the IMF BOPS tutorial -
now you are ready to do some serious work with your downloaded data!
Please see the IMF
BOPS dataset user guide for further information on the contents of the
If you would like to move to another database you can select the 'Quick links to macro data' drop down box at the top of the page then select the database you require.
Tested on Netscape 7 and Internet Explorer 7
Note: All Beyond 20/20 images used on this
page are Copyright © Beyond 20/20 Inc. All rights reserved.