HE Data Language

Developing a common student data language

The HEDIIP Data Language project has developed the components of a common data language that can be used to underpin data collections across the sector. This includes the development of:

  • A logical student data model (a general depiction of the data – entities, attributes and relationships – relevant to Higher Education students and curriculum)
  • A set of associated data definitions

A common data language is the second of four elements of the architecture set out in the HEDIIP New Landscape report.

HESA will be using the data language as it develops the specification of the HESA student data collection as part of the Data Futures Programme. The language has however been designed to be used more widely by other organisations collecting or transferring data about Higher Education students and their courses. The project focused on student and curriculum data as this encompasses the largest collections and will therefore have the most significant impact on the landscape.

The project commenced in November 2015 and ran until July 2016. The elements of the Data Language have now been handed over to HESA who will take responsibility for ongoing management.

The project was overseen by a Project Board and supported by a HE Provider Technical Working Group and a Data Collector Technical Working Group. The project also engaged with software suppliers to gather feedback and ensure they are aware of the proposed changes.

Project Outputs
There are three sets of project outputs:

1. Formal outputs

Logical Data Model (pdf), Logical Data Model (docx), Logical Data Model (EA version) – to follow shortly
Data Dictionary (pdf)

The formal outputs will be taken forward by HESA as the basis for the Collection Design project. Further development of the model will be governed by the Higher Education Data Landscape Steering Group (HEDLSG).

2. Additional guidance

Introduction to the HEDIIP Data Model (pdf) – this describes what the model is and how it works.
Collections mapping spreadsheet (xls) – This maps current HESA collections to the common data language.

3. Project documentation

End Project Report (pdf)
Project Engagement Report (pdf) – this sets out how we engaged the sector in this work.

Information on the background to the Data Language project can be found here.