Enclosure (1) to COMDTINST 5230.42A
meaning and distinct units or values. Data elements represent the smallest logical division of
information that can be identified. The DADS database contains a data element's logical standard
name and alias name(s) (defined in the next paragraph). The DADS also contains additional
attributes of the data element, such as the names of the systems and databases that use that data
element. The names of data elements tend to be more diverse and require more analysis than the
names of other data entities. This Guidebook focuses on data element naming standards although
the same methodology can be used for naming all data entities. Commandant (G-SIA) will
establish naming standards for other entities (e.g. system, database, database table/data record
names) in the future.
These data element naming standards create a unique corporate, or primary, name for
each data element. This name is also called the standard logical name of the data element.
Because the Coast Guard stores information using more than one retrieval method, it may seem
hopeless to reconcile all the differing name constraints (most often size restraints) of these diverse
applications. This problem is resolved by using one corporate name combined with several alias
names. Physical aliases are the names required by different software packages and programming
languages using the data element. Each application development language has its own set of
naming constraints. Over time, standards will evolve for these physical alias names based on the
application generator or software language used to develop each application. An alias can also be
another logical representation of a data element in a particular application or system (e.g., the
logical name used in an application's data dictionary). All alias names shall reside in the DADS for
use in cross-referencing the corporate names they represent. The naming standard rules addressed
in this document apply only to the corporate name of the data element, i.e., the representation of the
data element in the CG DADS.
WHY DATA NAMING STANDARDS ARE IMPORTANT
A coherent set of standards for naming data elements is vital to improving the management
of data. With the development of the data administration function within the organization,
centralized oversight of data becomes possible. Among the advantages of this activity is the
reduction of redundant data through consolidation of synonymous and overlapping data elements.
This can be achieved by the application of rules which lead to the creation of consistent names.