Best Practice: Collect
Select a Best Practice below to learn more about the “Collect” stage in the Data Life Cycle.
What is the “Collect” stage?
Observations are made either by hand or with sensors or other instruments and the data are placed a into digital form. You can structure the process of collecting data up front to better implement data management.
More information can be found in the Best Practices Primer.
Preserve information: Keep raw data raw
In order to preserve the raw data for future use: (click for more)Use appropriate field delimiters
Delimit the columns within a data table using commas or tabs; these are listed in order of preference. Semicolons are used in many systems as line end delimiters and may cause problems if data are imported into those systems (e.g. SAS, PHP scripts). Avo... (click for more)Use consistent codes
Be consistent in the use of codes to indicate categorical variables, for example species names, sites, or land cover types. Codes should always be the same within one data set. Pay particular attention to spelling and case; most frequent problems are wi... (click for more)