The What & Why of DataSpecs®

DataSpecs is a metadata management tool.  

DataSpecs is the central tool for data governance. 

What are Metadata? 

Metadata describe an organization’s data.  Having control over your official statistics, when they are collected, where they are stored, and when they are reported is essential to ensuring that everyone’s facts agree in reports, speeches, and interviews.

For those submitting data, collecting data, processing data, analyzing data, and reporting data/statistics, we all must know the calendar dates for key actions, whom to contact for definitive answers, where the authoritative data can be accessed, and when and where the statistics are reported.  Those are the metadata that DataSpecs manages for your organization.

Why does an organization need DataSpecs?  Data governance is essential to being in control of your organization’s information resources.  DataSpecs is the tool that will provide your data governance groups the metadata they require to make their decisions. 

From the first screen that displays updates on collections, repositories, and outputs/reports, you will know the status of key metadata components.  Intuitive navigation will guide you to the screens for viewing or editing the details about each collection, repository, and output/report.  The people and offices responsible for each are easily associated with them.

The reporting burden and redundancy associated with an organization’s data must be managed closely.  DataSpecs does this by recording the effort (i.e., burden) associated with collections.  You can also analyze redundancy across collections and repositories by running reports on where the same tags appear multiple times. 

The true benefit of DataSpecs to your organization is in its reports.  The preloaded reports were designed from studying best practices over three decades of experience.  Match your question with the corresponding report, and DataSpecs will present insights into your organization’s metadata.


What is the History of DataSpecs®?  

When ESP was founded in 1993, we needed an application to find the redundancies across data collections that caused undue burden on schools, offices, clients, and other data providers.  Over time, our client agencies needed to bring together all the documentation for managing their information.  In 1997, the U.S. Department of Education hired ESP to document all of their data collections.  This eventually created the foundation for their current consolidated electronic data submission system, EDFacts.  

DataSpecs Enterprise Edition is ESP’s full-featured application.  The two major differences between the Enterprise Edition and the Governance Edition are how individual data elements are mapped and how business rules are defined in detail.  

The Governance Edition was launched to serve agencies that are focused on data governance, managing calendars, and bringing all documentation together in one place.  The architecture and features of the Enterprise Edition have evolved over two decades with the accumulation of best practices from our many users across 30 states.  This experience showed us the need for an edition with features used more by the information managers at the policy, collection, provision, and publishing levels.  The transition to DataSpecs Enterprise Edition is straightforward when an agency is ready to extend their documentation to the element level, to design a data warehouse, or to begin governing data by elements rather by tags.