National Academies Press: OpenBook

Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary (2015)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21910.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21910.
×
Page 5
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21910.
×
Page 6
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21910.
×
Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21910.
×
Page 8
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21910.
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4C H A P T E R 2 The objective of the research in NCFRP Project 47 was to produce a searchable and sustain- able web-based freight data element dictionary. The information contained in the Freight Data Element Dictionary (Freight Data Dictionary) is illustrated in Figure 2-1. The Freight Data Dictionary is made up of three major databases: the Discussion Wall, the Data Dictionaries, and the list of Glossary Terms. The application’s default search bar is shown in Figure 2-2. The search bar comes with several features, including autocomplete, exact phrase search using quotes, and alternate search suggestions for misspelled words. An advanced search function is also available to narrow down search results to specific entries that meet the criteria provided by the user. However, the advanced search option is available only for the Freight Data Dictionaries and the Glossary Terms. The balance of this chapter provides additional information on the content contained in each database. 2.1 Discussion Wall The Discussion Wall contains all of the information in this report (Figure 2-1). It facilitates interlinking of information across multiple topics and seamlessly integrates with the Freight Data Dictionary search engine. For example, names of databases are linked to their original discussions as provided in Appendix A of this report. This is a useful feature considering the limitations of paper-based reports. Searching for keywords in the default search bar will also result in a search being performed on the Discussion Wall (Figure 2-3). When a user clicks on the relevant topic, the web application navigates to the page con- taining this information. References to related topics, relevant documents, and reports are included on each page. Registered users also have the ability to post comments on topics of interest by clicking on the “Discussion” tab shown next to the “Page” tab (Figure 2-4). These external comments will be regulated by an administrator to ensure their appropriateness to a particular topic. In addition to the topics presented in this report, the Discussion Wall contains the Freight Data Dictionary User Guide, a list of frequently asked questions, and a contact page for com- municating with the administrator. The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary

The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary 5 2.2 Data Dictionary The Data Dictionary provides a way to search all of the data dictionaries discussed in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 of this report. The tool works in a manner similar to the way it works for the Discus- sion Wall: it queries the available data element names and descriptions to provide results relevant to the search keyword. Each page of results represents data dictionary elements from a particular data source. For example, a search for the word “origin” will yield results from 10 data sources, as shown in Figure 2-5. Using the dropdown menu (currently showing “Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey”), users can navigate between the 10 data sources. The elements on the page are divided into sub-databases and tables, based on the table or sub-database to which the element belongs. Users can view a data element’s description, type, and other additional information by click- ing on the “Info” icon (a lowercase “i” in a circle). Data elements that are similar to the search results can also be obtained by clicking on the “Similar Elements” link at the bottom of the page. Users seeking to retrieve the entire dictionary generated for that particular data table can click on the “Complete Table Profile” link. Users also can employ Role-Based Classification Schema (RBCS) queries to identify all Data Dictionary elements that have the same element role. To use this feature, simply type “RBCS” (case insensitive) followed by the desired element role. Autocomplete can be useful for entering acceptable RBCS queries. An example of an acceptable input is shown in Figure 2-6. Freight Data Dictionary Data Dictionary Ch. 4 Inventory of Freight Data Sources Ch. 5 Freight Data Elements Glossary Dictionary Ch. 4 Inventory of Freight Data Sources Glossary Terms Discussion Wall Ch. 3 Freight Data Uses Ch. 4 Inventory of Freight Data Sources - Appendix A Ch. 6 Differences in Data Element Definitions Ch. 7 Resolving Differences in Data Element Definitions User Contributions Figure 2-1. Freight Data Dictionary framework. Figure 2-2. Freight Data Dictionary search bar.

6 Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary Figure 2-3. Discussion Wall topic search.

The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary 7 Figure 2-4. Discussion Wall topic screenshot.

8 Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary Figure 2-5. Data Dictionaries search results. Figure 2-6. RBCS search feature.

The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary 9 2.3 Glossary Terms The Glossary Terms option searches the compiled list of glossary terms discussed in Chapter 4 of this report. As with searches of the Data Dictionaries, searches of the Glossary Terms work by querying the available glossary terms and their definitions (see Figure 2-7). Links to the sources of the glossary terms appear in brackets at the end of each term definition. Clicking on a link loads the respective glossary data source. Figure 2-7. Glossary Terms search results.

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TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCFRP) Report 35: Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary provides the findings of the research effort to develop a freight data dictionary for organizing the myriad freight data elements currently in use.

A product of this research effort is a web-based freight data element dictionary hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

The project web page includes a link to supporting appendices not printed with the report.

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