As part of its mission to provide relevant and timely access to data, Decision Support leads a collaborative effort to develop the institutional data dictionary. During the analysis of user needs in the development of data marts, a team consisting of data steward(s), data users, and Decision Support development staff work together to define the informational elements needed to meet the reporting requirements of the targeted users. Thus, the data mart development process centers on the creation and implementation of institutional data definitions.
Working from an initial list of informational elements designed around a specific purpose, collaborators aim to precisely and concisely define these elements. The resulting definitions include the title, description, context, and usage of an element, as well as instructions on how to extract or derive it from transactional data sources. From the initial design and testing phases through the data mart’s implementation for institutional use, these definitions are continuously reviewed and refined for accuracy and completeness – by the data mart development team, ODS staff members, the relevant data stewards, and members of the user community as they are applied to reporting needs.
Decision Support houses the resulting sets of institutional definitions and their technical implementations in a central metadata repository. Definitions are made available to data mart users through an online Data Dictionary, as well as to other audiences through any number of appropriate formats.