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Glossary of Terms

This glossary of terms has been developed to assist discussions relating to OSPAR topics therfore ensuring a common understanding of key terms. This is an open list so will be updated and added-to as required.

DatastreamCategory for data supporting a single topic e.g. benthic habitat distribution. A datastream can be formed of a number of datasets.
DatasetAny organised collection of data. ‘Dataset’ is a flexible term and may refer to an entire database, a spreadsheet or other data file, or a related collection of data resources.
Structured dataData that adheres to a pre-defined data model, conforming to a tabular format e.g. excel files or SQL databases.
Unstructured dataContent maintained outside of databases without a defined data model.
Processed dataThe output of cleaning and manipulating raw data.
Unprocessed dataData which has not been changed since its acquisition.
Data productThe output from data processing, e.g. including recalculated values using an agreed conversion factor or interpolated missing values.
Snapshot dataset (or frozen dataset)A specific instance of a dataset e.g. covering a specific time period, which is isolated from any further change.
Data standardsDefine the structure of the dataset, e.g. specifying the units in which a parameter is to be reported and what coordinates to use.
MetadataInformation about a dataset, typically including data source, spatial and temporal scope and any use restrictions. e.g. ISO19115.
Data modelDescription of data standards and structure
DatabaseA software system for processing and managing data, including features to extend or update, transform and query the data. Examples are the open source PostgreSQL, and the proprietary Microsoft Access.
Data callOfficial call to data providers to submit a specific dataset.
Data sourceThe source of a dataset, e.g. a national database.
Data providerSimilar to ‘data source’ but referring specifically to the actor, e.g. national institute hosting a database.
Data hostOrganisation/Institute/Persons responsible for data management and storage.
Reporting formatExplicit data structure to be used when reporting data.
Quality controlOne or more data quality tests/checks performed during the data production process to measure and ensure the dataset integrity.
Quality assuranceA data management workflow that combines standards, guidelines, technical procedures, human resources, hardware and software resources designed to meet the data product specifications or/and the user requirements [or the stated and implied needs].
Data screeningQuality Control protocols checking e.g. the completeness and correctness of a submitted dataset before acceding it into a database.
Data qualityThe state of the data based on factors such as accuracy, completeness, consistency and reliability.
Data resubmissionThe data provider reports the dataset a second time, e.g. including a correction
Data flowThe agreed route through which data are transferred in an agreed data management procedure.
Data flow diagramA schematic representation of the data flow, typically showing actors, formats, databases and agreed protocols.
Data managementThe policies, procedures, and technical choices used to handle data through its entire lifecycle from data collection to storage, preservation and use.
Data arrangementsSynonym of ‘data management’.
Data portalA web platform for publishing data. The aim of a data portal is to provide a data catalogue, making data not only available but discoverable for data users.
Web ServicesMechanisms for exchanging data between systems in a machine-readable format, examples include: WMS – Web Mapping Service – a service that allows for spatial datasets to be shared as an image. WFS – Web Feature Service – a service that allows for spatial data to be shared as interrogable content, i.e. allowing queries in order to retrieve results or answers.
InterfaceTool presenting data from a store e.g. a website data portal. The interface can allow interrogation of data.