Concepts & terms - datasets, tables, data elements


In Reportnet and DD's context a dataset is a collection of tables containing the reported data. Often the "tables" will actually recede to a single table only. In a way DD datasets are stand-alone databases. Usually they come as MS Access databases or MS Excel files. They are subject to certain data flows and obliged to be reported by Reportnet players according to legislation. In many cases a dataset corresponds to a dataflow. For example there is the CDDA dataset defined in DD, which contains the information about reported data within that same-named data flow


A table in DD's context is a table in dataset. Columns in a table stand for data elements, rows stand for their values.

Visual representation of table and data elements

Data elements

A data element in Data Dictionary's context is a column in a table. The figure above provides a visual representation of what a table and its elements (columns) are.
On the highest level there are two classes of data elements in DD:

Data elements could be for example StationCode, StationType, Longitude, etc. And while Longitude can be measured and StationCode could be anything, StationType would probably have values from a pre-fixed set. These differences represent the 2 distinct data element types that DD recognizes:


Datasets, tables and elements in DD are defined by a set of attributes, the core set of which corresponds to ISO 11179 standard for describing data elements. The rest of the attributes are usually specific to Reportnet business rules and in any case the attribute set is flexible- an administrator can dynamically add/remove attributes to/from the system. Most common attribute of all is 'Name', standing for the name of the defined object. Other attributes could be for example 'Definition', 'Version', etc. There are two types of attributes recognized by DD:

Important simple attributes when defining a data element are: Important complex attributes when defining a dataset, table or element are:

You can learn more about each and every attribute through using the DD, because each and every attribute in the DD user pages is provided with online help about its meaning and point.