Business Glossaries

UNSW Business Glossaries

UNSW Business Glossaries are a collection of clear and consistent definitions for the terms used by University administration to label data.

Their purpose is to maintain a common data vocabulary across the University. You can access the business glossaries here (zID required) via the UNSW Data Cookbook.

How to create a data definition for your Business Glossaries

Follow the process in this flow chart to create a data definition. More detailed instructions are provided after the flow chart.


An illustration of a flow chart, showing the stages in creating a data definition. The stages are explained in the text following the illustration.


Start with the data term that you wish to define.

Before setting out to create a data definition, you’ll need to identify and liaise with the Data Owner or relevant Data Steward to avoid any duplication of effort. A list of Data Owners can be found here (zID required).

Search the UNSW Business Glossaries (zID required) for any data labels or definitions that are similar or associated to the term you wish to define.  

Also check the following to identify any existing definitions that may assist: 

  • relevant Australian, state or territory government departments or entities

  • Australian or international standards 

  • business glossaries created by other universities 

  • other business glossaries.

Develop a draft definition, ensuring that it conforms with any related or relevant definitions. Other elements that may need to be included in the definition include: 

  • synonyms and abbreviations 

  • relationship of this term to others in the Business Glossaries. 

Place the draft definition in your Business Glossary and mark it as ‘draft’. 

Seek and incorporate feedback on your draft definition from the subject matter experts. These should include the Data Owner, Data Steward and relevant people in UNSW IT and the Data & Information Governance Office.

Seek and incorporate feedback on your draft definition from the University staff who use this term. Use as many iterations as necessary to reach consensus on the definition. 

Submit the definition to the Data Owner for approval.  

In some cases, it may be useful to establish a working group to undertake the consult/build consensus/approve stages of this process.

Once approved by the Data Owner, update the status of the definition to ‘approved’ in the Business Glossary and promote it to all users of the term.