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Best Practice: Maintain consistent data typing


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.



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 on Aug 22, 2019


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