Data Fundamentals Terms – Essential Definitions for Data
Data Fundamentals Terms - Essential Definitions for Data
In the last article, we explored some fundamental terminology like data types, structures, and storage. Next we will build on that foundation by defining key concepts for organizing and representing data: sources, entities, objects, elements, and domains.
A data source is the initial point from which data originates or is acquired. It can be anything from a database or a spreadsheet to an API that provides data. The quality, reliability, and timeliness of data often depend on the nature of its source.
A data element is the smallest unit of data that has a specific, meaningful value. It serves as a basic building block for more complex data structures and usually corresponds to a single field in a database. For example, in a ‘Student’ entity, the ‘First Name’ field would be a data element.
A data object is a collection of related data elements organized for a specific purpose within a database or data model. It encapsulates both the attributes (fields) and behaviors (methods) that are relevant for manipulating the data. For example, a ‘Student’ data object might contain elements like ‘Name,’ ‘Address,’ and ‘Gender’.
A data entity refers to a conceptual representation of a distinct, cohesive set of related information in a database. It is usually mapped to a real-world object, like a person, a product, or an event, around which data is collected and stored. Entities can have attributes and can be connected to other entities via relationships.
A data domain or category refers to a logical grouping of related data objects based on a specific kind of data or functionality. For example, all data objects relating to courses in an educational setting could be grouped into a “Courses” data domain. This organization aids in data management, allowing for easier navigation and more effective data operations within that specific group..
Understanding terms like data sources, entities, objects, elements and domains gives you a better sense of how raw information gets transformed into actionable insights. We’ve added more building blocks to our language for data.. But there are many more core concepts to explore as we continue navigating the complex data landscape together.
Upcoming articles in this series will build on these fundamentals to unpack more intricate data-related topics. Each installment aims to demystify specific elements of the data world so you can develop fluency. Our data language journey is just beginning!