Enclosure (1) to COMDTINST 5230.42A
requirement for supporting our strategy for the future, in which data should be shared to the
greatest extent possible across organizations and applications. To support this requirement, the
following rules shall be used to construct data element definitions:
Each data element must have a brief, precise, understandable definition.
The definition must have a meaning significantly different from that of any other data
Data element definitions must have only one acceptable interpretation.
Significant terms with different/varying connotations must have their use clearly explained in
Data element definitions must be functionally correct interpretations, written in commonly
Functionally familiar terms, which do not literally state what the data element is or which may
be uncommon to other potential users, must be avoided.
Use precise, consistent, grammatically correct language and avoid the use of local and
Do not develop restrictive definitions for information that could be used in other activities,
organizations, functions, etc. While the originator's primary concern lies with his use of a data
element, consideration must be given other users who may require the same or varying
applications of the data element.
Should the inclusion of restrictive information in a definition be required, the restrictive
information should be preceded by the abbreviation "e.g.," to cite an example using the
restrictive information or "i.e.," to explain or further clarify use of restrictive information.
10. Data elements are logical rather than physical. Definitions must state "What the data element
is", NOT: "How it is used", "Where it is used", "When it is used" and/or "How it is
11. Do not include processing/editing criteria in the definition.