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Data Cookbook

What is the Data Cookbook?

The Data Cookbook website is a new Data Governance tool that will help Boise State data producers and consumers view, use, capture, and develop data and reporting information that is consistent and accurate across the many reporting outlets housed on the campus.

More than a data dictionary, the Data Cookbook has a number of features that can be valuable to reporting efforts of the different functional areas at Boise State.

  • Data terms and definitions
  • Report specifications
  • Workflow
  • Community collaboration

To learn about these features in-depth, please see the posted pre-recorded videos available on iData’s web site.


Finding Definitions

Finding Definitions

  1. To browse the glossary of definitions within the Data Cookbook, log in to your account with your Boise State credentials.
  2. Select Definitions from the navigation tabs at the top of the page.
  3. Hover over the Definitions tab at the top of the page and select Browse Definitions.
  4. Search for Definitions
    1. On the Definitions page, use the Search: bar located at the top right of the webpage under the navigation bar. To search for a term, input the desired search term, and press enter or click the arrow (>).
    2. Use the Tools and Filters listed and described below to help narrow your search.
  5. Using Tools and Filters
    1. Sort By
      1. There are three options to order the list of definitions: alphabetical, recently modified, and recently created.
    2. Display
      1. Definitions can be displayed in two different formats: full content or name only.
    3. Filter By
      1. Functional Area—the department/group data stewards that manage the definition.
      2. Version—the current status of the definition (e.g., last approved, pending, in draft).
      3. Definition Source—where the definition originated from (not in use).
      4. Data System—the name of the campus data system(s) that currently use the defined term.
      5. Tag—keywords and terms related to the definition.
    4. Quick Definition Lookup
      1. This search bar is located under the Data Cookbook logo at the top of the site page.
      2. Results are rendered from local and public sources
      3. The results do not include Specifications, only definitions located within the Data Cookbook
      4. You may opt to get only local results by unchecking the “Include Public Community” checkbox.

Browsing Specifications

Browsing Specifications

  1. To browse the index of Specifications within the Data Cookbook, log in to your account with your Boise State credentials.
  2. Select Specifications from the navigation tabs at the top of the page.
  3. Choose Browse Specifications from the pop-up menu.
  4. Search for a Report Specification
    1. On the Specifications page, use the Search: bar located at the top right of the webpage under the navigation bar. To search for a specification, input a keyword, and press enter or click the arrow (>).
    2. Use the Tools and Filters listed and described below to help narrow your search.
  5. Using Tools and Filters
    1. Filter By:
      1. Functional Area—the department/group data stewards that manage the specification.
      2. Version—the current status of the specification (e.g., last approved, pending, in draft).
      3. Data System—specification that consists of information that is used within an organization.
      4. Specification Type—the original form of the specification report that is output.
      5. Tag—keywords and terms related to the specification.


Style Guide—New Definitions

Style Guide—New Definitions

The Data Cookbook is our new Data Governance Tool. One feature that will aid all campus users is the searchable data dictionary in the Data Cookbook. Helping users find the information they in the Data Cookbook will 1) provide a better understanding of campus report details, 2) allow for consistent use of data elements for a variety of reporting activities, and 3) increase data literacy by having a central database of definitions accessible by all campus constituents.

General Guidelines

Before adding new definitions to the Data Cookbook:

  • Conduct a definition search prior to creating a new definition. A previously developed definition may have already been created for the Data Cookbook, or a similar definition may exist in the Data Cookbook Community Portal that can be copied and modified for local use.
  • Multiple needs should be considered when defining each term. Currently, many reports have been designed with undergraduate students as the primary student group; however, definitions should also include relevant information related to graduates or other relevant student populations or subpopulations.
  • Definitions should be written in a basic and brief manner. No part of the term to be defined should be included in the first level of the definition itself.
  • Limited use of abbreviations is recommended. Due to a lack of consistency and different interpretations that some abbreviation use may create, define a term once and include the abbreviation to be used in parentheses immediately after the term.
  • Special symbols (e.g., #, %, $) may be used in a term definition, but must be preceded by the name of the symbol followed by the symbol in parentheses.

Definition Entry Break Down

The main entry page is designed to create Functional definition. The essential entry fields are described below:

  • The Name of the definition to be entered (Required Entry)
  • The Functional Definition is the narrative that users will read to understand the entered term. (Required Entry)
  • The Scan for matches button will scan for same/similar definitions that may already be in the Data Cookbook.
  • The Tags are keyword used to facilitate definition searches.
  • The Functional Area contains the data steward’s department name. (Required Entry)

Additional content may be added to the grey right panel. Essential fields are:

  • Functional Areas—populated from Functional Definition entry.
  • Moderators—data steward(s) who will maintain the definition.
  • Content Contributors—names of the definition creators.
  • Related Specifications—reports in which you will find the term.
  • Related Definitions—hyperlinks to other term definitions in the Data Cookbook.
  • Synonyms—same or similar terms that a definition is otherwise known as.
  • Tags—populated from Functional Definition entry.


For a comprehensive guide to the many features of the Data Cookbook site, please review the Data Cookbook’s help page.

Need Assistance?

If you have any questions, or need assistance, please send an email to: datacookbook@boisestate.edu