The Business Glossary (Data Cookbook) contains functional and technical definitions. Follow these standards for writing a functional definition, which explains what a term (Name) means. A good functional definition is understandable to someone who knows nothing about databases, does not understand what your office is or does, has a great vocabulary, and can follow directions very well. A good functional definition has 3 parts.

Part 1 - Basic Format

Choose one of the formats described below to structure the definition. Formats are listed in order of preference, starting with the first one. If it does not suit your term, try the next format, etc.

Format A

Uniqueness within a class or category. Identify the class to which the concept or item belongs, then differentiate it within the class. How is this item different from all the other items in its class? Conclude with a sentence or two about business rules if applicable.

Format B

Description. Determine the unique descriptive characteristics and list them. Be as exhaustively descriptive as seems relevant. Do not confine the definition to what is needed for identification, although identification is important. Conclude with a sentence or two about business rules if applicable.

Format C

Cause or purpose definition. Describe the cause or purpose of the thing. In this type of definition we may not know what the thing is, but we know why it exists or we know what it is for. Include a sentence or two about business rules if applicable.

Part 2 - Link to Other Data Cookbook Definitions

Intentionally use phrases that include other definitions as part of the text. This example is the definition for the term ISO Sponsored Student. Italized terms are also Cookbook terms.

An international student whose visa classification is sponsored through approved programs administered by the International Services Office (ISO). Most, but not all international students are ISO-sponsored students. An individual who obtains immigration status on their own, through third-party sponsorship, or is an undocumented student may or may not be included in ISO data. For students who are not sponsored through ISO, the University is not required to monitor, report or verify their permission to study for immigration purposes.

Part 3 - Revise the Definition to Conform to Style Guidelines

  • If the term has a list of values associated with it, use the How To Treat Values guidelines to decide if the values themselves should be terms. As an example, the term “enrolled student” has the values active, withdrawn, probation, and deceased. Should the values also be terms?
  • Use complete sentences and standard grammar.
  • Be concise and specific.
  • Avoid emotive language, including persuasion.
  • Do not be negative when you can be positive.
  • Include an example value of data by inserting a line space at the end of the definition, followed by EXAMPLE: “example value” on the line below the line space.