Definition: A process by which data are gathered from data providers into a central repository. Although this is defined as a process, a collection is physically represented in many ways, e.g., a file transmitted over the Internet, a Web form, a pdf file, a paper form, an interview, etc.

What This Means: As used in DataSpecs, a Collection consists of a set of data items that are grouped together and “collected” from one or more sources. For state education agency operation, collections are usually data brought in from districts and schools. For district operation, collections usually include data brought in from schools and other operational entities in the district, including transportation and school food service. In many organizations, the data items appear on a form (or several forms) or in electronic format(s). The individual fields or components of the collection are called “items.”


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