4.2 Creating a Data Dictionary for a Spreadsheet

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Submit a spreadsheet (.XLS or .XLSX) with one tab for introductory information and separate data dictionary tabs that correspond to each existing tab in your dataset. For example, if your dataset consists of three tabs, your data dictionary will have four tabs: the first for introductory, background information, and three more to correspond to the three tabs of data. Consider using our data dictionary template to get started.

Best Practices:

  • Submit your data as a spreadsheet or CSV
  • One table per tab
  • No extraneous comments
  • No empty cells, columns, or rows (enter na if nothing applies)
  • Spell out all abbreviations
  • Element definitions should be stated in the singular, be succinct, and be able to stand alone from other element definitions

    An example of fields in a spreadsheet can include:

    • Field definition
    • Field variables
    • Field data type
    • Field length
    • Required y/n and/or null value note
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