What is a Glossary?

A glossary is a reference file that contains definitions and descriptions of terms used within a column of data.  It supplements the data dictionary.  Often times terms used within data may need additional explanation.  If any of the columns within your dataset requires a glossary, it is recommended you include it in a text file that can be attached to the dataset.  Below are some recommendations on what it should include:

  • Name of dataset
  • URL for the dataset
  • Name of column the glossary is associated with.
  • Column description provided on open data portal.
  • List of terms used within appropriate column, and definition associated with each.
Glossary Example

Dataset Name: Iowa Prison Population - Year End

Dataset URL: https://data.iowa.gov/d/murf-9x69

Column: Offense Type Most Serious Crime
Column Description: Offense type of most serious crime the offender was convicted


Violent Crimes: Violent crimes include assault, kidnapping, murder, manslaughter, robbery, rape and other sex offenses.

Property Crimes: Property crimes include arson, burglary, forgery, fraud, theft, and vandalism (criminal mischief).

Drug Crimes: Drug crimes are related to the manufacture, distribution, and possession of controlled substances; and drug tax stamp violations.

Public Order Crimes: Public order crimes include drunken driving, flight/escape, gambling, intoxication, prostitution, traffic violations, weapons (illegal possession, illegal trafficking, etc.).

Other/Miscellaneous: Other/miscellaneous include animal-related violations, business violations, health/medical violations, and other court, criminal and government violations not easily classified in other categories.

File should be named after the column and include "glossary" (e.g. Offense-Type-Most-Serious-Crime-Glossary.txt)

Program Area
Open Data, Metadata, Dataset Glossary

Printed from the Iowa Department of Management website on April 26, 2018 at 10:07am.