The purpose of the data dictionary is to provide formal, central documentation on what is housed in our data warehouse—e.g., what system it originates with, how reliable it is, how it is structured and formatted, how it is best used for analysis and strategic planning. Put more succinctly, the data dictionary houses data about data residing in our institutional data warehouse.
The data dictionary (which is constantly being updated, and will always be, in some sense, incomplete) is housed here:
Using the data dictionary is not terribly complex, but takes a little getting used to, and requires that you understand something of the structure of the data warehouse. It contains a high-level summary of the data warehouse by package.
In general, the data warehouse is divided up into various packages or collections of related database tables. The packages are named according to their subject area (e.g., ProspectStars, which houses tables that are useful for prospective student analysis and research).
Typically, if you have a question about a data item, or about a table, you will go to the data dictionary (using the link above—which you should bookmark), then:
- Navigate to the relevant package, using the left-hand sidebar
- Navigate (via the sidebar or main window) to the table that contains the data item you are interested in
- Click through to the definition of the data item
You may also download an Excel spreadsheet documenting each individual data element (with pointers back to packages you can browse in the full data dictionary):
If you have questions, let us know.