Institutional Definitions for Data and Information Management

Institutional Data

Institutional Data is defined as all data elements which are created, received, maintained, or transmitted by the Virginia Commonwealth University. Institutional Data  can be contained in any form, including but not limited to documents, databases, spreadsheets, email, and websites; represented in any form, including but not limited to  letters, numbers, words, pictures, sounds, symbols, or any combination thereof;  communicated in any form, including but not limited to handwriting, printing, photocopying, photographing, and web publishing; and  recorded upon any form, including  but not limited to papers, maps, films, prints, discs, drives, memory sticks and other computing devices.

Institutional Metadata

Institutional Metadata is additional data collected, maintained and used which generally describes and defines the processes around the management of Institutional data.  

Examples of Institutional Metadata include:

  •     Definitions regarding the purpose, usage, and context of institutional data
  •     Identification of which system is the official system of record of institutional data
  •     Who is responsible for the management of institutional data?
  •     How Institutional Data is transferred, derived, and stored?
  •     What security and privacy practices are used to safeguard institutional data?
  •     Risk and compliance classifications for institutional data
  •     Rules around the retention of records and data.

System of Record

The system of Record is an information system that is designated by Data Stewards as holding official values of Institutional Data. Official values are the data designated as the most accurate representation of the meaning and context of Institutional Data elements which are recorded as facts. Official values may not necessarily be the originally entered values, and as such, a System of Record may not necessarily be the system where values are originally entered. When questions arise over the meaning or interpretation of data elements or their values, the System of Record is used to resolve discrepancies.

Institutional Data Repositories

Institutional Data is often copied from Systems of Record to other systems, for ease of access, reporting or to facilitate historical storage of data. VCU’s Operational Data Store (ODS) is an example of this type of additional data repository. Since Systems of Record may purge Institutional Data on defined schedules, these types of additional data repositories may contain Institutional data that survives beyond what the System of Record contains.  They then become a System of Record holding official values of Institutional Data. These additional Institutional Data Repositories are designated by Data Stewards and are subject to the same policies and procedures that govern the use of institutional data.

Departmental / Unit / Local Data Repositories

Various departments or administrative and academic units at VCU copy institutional data from Systems of Record into their own departmental, unit or local data repositories. Any Departmental / Unit / Local Data Repository that contains a copy of institutional data is subject to the same policies and procedures which govern the use of Institutional Data and Information.

Subject Areas (Institutional Domains)

Institutional information is classified according to specific, high-level subject areas for the purpose of assigning accountability and responsibility for that data. The subject areas are defined in the institutional data map. Examples of high-level subject area domains are Finance, Human Resources, Research, Academics, and Development. The Institutional Data Map further defines major business functions (Business domains) within each subject area. Examples of business domains within the Academics subject area are Curriculum, Accreditation, Financial Aid, Student Accounting, Admissions, Records and Registration, and Degree Audit.

Institutional Data Map

The Institutional Data Map is a data and business process classification scheme created by the Data and Information Management Council. The Data Map provides consistency in the cataloging and maintenance of vast amounts of institutional data contained within a wide spectrum of systems.

The Institutional Data Map is intended to:

  •     Provide a common point of reference for business and technical audiences when discussing information management issues
  •     Guide data management decisions about access and use of information
  •     Clarify the boundaries and interdependencies among different systems and business processes
  •     Increase effective information sharing by creating a common reference for grouping and disseminating information
  •     Provide a framework for assisting strategic planning processes for enhancing and building out information systems and analytical reports.