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Concept help - Data Element

A Data Element is a precise way of defining how a piece of data is recorded for a specific set of objects, using reusable metadata components. Data Elements are composed of a Data Element Concept, which describes the meaning of the data, and a Value Domain which describes how the data is recorded.

A data element represents the union of a Data Element Concept and a Value Domain. The following examples demonstrate how a concept can be paired with values to capture detailed information, e.g. Persondate of birth, DDMMYYYY, Personcountry of birth, code Australian Standard Classification of Countries NNNN and Personreligious affiliation, code Religious Affiliation Standard 2012 NNNN.

The same data element concept may be paired with various sets of values to form different data elements and thereby customising the way information is specified for collection. For example the concept of Occupation may be associated with a value domain which references the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations and be collected at different digit levels representing the Major Group, Sub-Major Group, Minor Group, Unit Group or Occupation.

Data elements may stand alone or be associated with other item types such as Data Element Derivations.

ISO/IEC 11179-3 Section

Data_Element is a class each instance of which models a data element (3.2.28), a unit of data (3.2.27) that is considered in context to be indivisible.

A Data_Element is considered to be a basic unit of data of interest to an organisation. It is a unit of data for which the definition, identification, representation, and permissible values are specified by means of a set of attributes.

A Data_Element is formed when a Data_Element_Concept ( is assigned a representation. One of the key components of a representation is the Value_Domain (, i.e., restricted valid values.

Fields available on this metadata type

Field ISO definition
Name The primary name used for human identification purposes.
Definition Representation of a concept by a descriptive statement which serves to differentiate it from related concepts. (3.2.39)
Is Federated
Is Not Federable
Version Unique version identifier of this metadata item.
References Significant documents that contributed to the development of the metadata item which were not the direct source for the metadata content.
Origin The source (e.g. document, project, discipline or model) for the item (
Comments Descriptive comments about the metadata item (
Deleted The date after which the item has been soft deleted and is no longer visible in the registry
Data Element Concept binds with a Data_Element_Concept that provides the meaning for the Data_Element
Value Domain binds with a Value_Domain that describes a set of possible values that may be recorded in an instance of the Data_Element

Official Definition

A unit of data that is considered in context to be indivisible. ISO/IEC 11179 - Clause 3.2.28