Governed Data

which data are included

Dartmouth's Data Governance initiative applies to structured core data in electronic source systems.

Structured and Unstructured data

Data exist in many forms and sizes and are commonly categorized as structured data, unstructured data, or semi-structured data.

Structured data are well organized, have a pre-defined format, usually fit nicely into the rows and columns of a table, and are easily found and processed.  They are often described as quantitative data, easy to count, measure, and express in numbers.

Examples of structured data include:

  • Identification Number
  • Primary Affiliation
  • Account Number
  • Class Year
  • Address
  • Name
  • Price

Unstructured data are not well organized, do not have a pre-defined format, and are difficult to find and search.  They are often described as qualitative data with a subjective and interpretive nature.  Since they are not structured in a pre-defined way they are often stored in their native formats.

Examples of unstructured data include:

  • Social Medial Posts
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Photographs
  • Video Files
  • Audio Files
  • Email
  • PDFs

Semi-structured data have some consistent and defined characteristics however they also contain variability and inconsistency.

Examples of semi-structured data include:

  • csv
  • logs
  • json


Core Data

Core data represent the most valuable information in our organization.  Core data are essential for running operations and are used in the same way by business units across the institution.  Core data describe Dartmouth students, employees, suppliers, locations, and our chart of accounts, just to name a few examples.