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Collection design: glossary of terms

The below glossary definitions cover terms used within the collection design project. New terms and corresponding definitions will be added as required. 

Business Event An event at an HE provider that might trigger a requirement for data to be submitted to HESA.

Collection The process undertaken by HESA relating to capture of an HE provider's data for a specific stream of information. A collection would generally encompass a number of segments

Data dictionary The physicalisation of the logical model to define the specification and structure of the data to be submitted to HESA.

DLSG – Data Language Steering Group. The data landscape governance body charged with maintaining the data language logical model and promoting good practice for data collections.

Enrolment  the act of a student committing to undertake a course session at a provider.

Dissemination Point - The specified date on which data from the Reference Period and potentially previous Reference Periods will be extracted and supplied for statistical, regulatory and public information purposes. HESA will offer its opinion on the credibility of the data as it stands on the Dissemination Date, through the medium of quality reports.

Integration – The process of accumulating data from one or more segments and applying data enrichments where possible.

Logical model – A data model which displays the logical structure of how various elements of HE data are associated and interact in the real world.

Outcome – The resulting state following a student ending a registration which would typically result in qualifications and accreditations awarded.

Output – A report / dataset produced from submitted data, including where enriched by HESA. The requirements of the report / dataset defines the applicable population and specification. A draft of an output, where specified in advance, may be made available to a higher education provider based on the data they have submitted.

RecordThe accumulation of data that results from each segment having been quality assured and signed off by a provider. The record will be complete once the final segment has been signed off.

Reference Period (previously called Reference point) – A defined period of time to which collected data is related i.e. changes that occur during a Reference Period should be submitted and signed off prior to the Dissemination Point. Data disseminated at the Dissemination Point will be used for official accounts of the higher education provider’s activity for statistical, regulatory and public information purposes.

Registration the agreement of a contract to educate between a student and a provider.

Segment –  A coherent group of data that forms a subset of the scope of a collection. Each segment would expect to have an associated specification and deadlines.

Sign-Off – The action of a defined role (for example Vice Chancellor) making a formal declaration that the data submitted to HESA during a Reference Period represents an honest, impartial and rigorous account of the HE provider’s activity during the reference period. See HESA Code of Practice for more information.

Specification The metadata and supporting guidance required by HE providers to enable data to be submitted to HESA. This may relate to a specific segment or for the collection as a whole.