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Best Practice: Maintain consistent data typing

BEST PRACTICE

Best Practices by Data Life Cycle




Maintain consistent data typing

Data Life Cycle stage(s): Describe

Choose the right data type and precision for data in each column. As examples: (1) use date fields for dates; and (2) use numerical fields with decimal places precision. Comments and explanations should not be included in a column that is meant to include numeric values only. Comments should be included in a separate column that is designed for text. This allows users to take advantage of specialized search and computing functionality and improves data quality. If a particular spreadsheet or software system does not support data typing, it is still recommended that one keep the data type consistent within a column and not mix numbers, dates and text.

Description Rationale

Strict data typing provides quality control and enables extended analytical procedures such as date calculations and quality assurance procedures.

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Cite this best practice:

DataONE Best Practices Working Group, DataONE  (July 01, 2010) "Best Practice: Maintain consistent data typing". Accessed through the Data Management Skillbuilding Hub at https://dataoneorg.github.io/Education/bestpractices/maintain-consistent-data on Aug 22, 2019


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