Step 1 - Datasources

What is a Datasource?

A Datasource is a technology or system that stores data. Some examples include:

  • Information Systems
  • Databases
  • Excel Spreadsheets on Shared Drives or Personal Desktops.
  • Access Databases on Shared Drives or Personal Desktops.
  • 3rd Party Vendors and data hosted on vendor systems.

Helper Questions

In order to help you identify some datasources, use this list of helper questions:

  • What databases does your department use?
  • What information systems does your department use?
  • What applications capture information or are used in your business processes?
  • Are there some datasources kept in spreadsheets on your desktop?
  • Are there some data that you work on with other people stored on shared drives?
  • Are you already publishing information out on the web or in reports? Where does that information come from?
  • Do you use Excel Spreadsheets or Access Databases to hold any information?

Do I have to list every information system my department uses?

While ideally we would prefer to know every system you use that stores data, we recognize it may be overwhelming and burdensome for some departments to list every single piece of software they use that stores data. In those situations, we are asking you to use your judgment: if this is something that gets PRA'd or something that holds information you think may be useful to someone in another department please put that system in as a datasource.

Do I have to list every Spreadsheet / Access DB?

It's important to understand that we are not looking for a listing of every spreadsheet / Access DB you, your department or your colleagues own or use.

The spreadsheets we would like to ask you to add as Datasources are the type that are:

  • Periocally Updated (Weekly / Monthly / Quarterly / Annually / etc.).
  • Used to run reports or are reports.
  • Used to update leadership.

This is not an exhaustive list of attributes that would make a spreadsheet a datasource, but we ask you to use your best judgment based on the examples below.

If you are hesitant about whether to include a spreadsheet / Access DB in the list, feel free to email Maksim, or err on the side of caution and include it (unless doing so will require an inordinate amount of work such as adding 100 spreadsheets to the list). It will be weeded out before Step 2 begins.

Some examples of Spreadsheets we are NOT looking for:

  • Timesheets.
  • Project Plans / Gantt charts.
  • Personal tracking sheets.
  • One-time documents developed for a specific project.

Some examples of Spreadsheets we ARE looking for:

  • List of fire hydrants.
  • Performance measures.
  • Potholes list.
  • Street sweeping locations and times.
  • PRA request history.
  • Workforce centers.
  • Street names.
  • Libraries - locations and hours.
  • List of Lists (Dataset that contains information about other datasets).
  • Other cities' data portals.
  • Reference data (data that provide reference to another dataset).

Spreadsheets that are extracted from another system

If there's a report that you run from another system that ends up being put into a spreadsheet, that spreadsheet is not a datasource. However, please include that spreadsheet as a dataset in Step 2 (Sheet #2 in the Spreadsheet).

RollUp Reports

If there's a report that you periodically prepare for another department (for example budget reports per department that roll up to a budget report compiled by FM), you do NOT need to identify that spreadsheet as a datasource or a dataset. However, we are asking you to use your judgment here -- if this is something that gets PRA'd and your department (as opposed to FM in this example) compiles the response to the PRA, or if this is something that you think may be useful to someone in another department that is not receiving the report, please put that in as a dataset and the system where it comes from as a datasource.

Judgment Calls

There are some judgment calls required here, and if it appears your submission included too much or too little information, we will follow-up with you before reporting a status update on our inventory efforts.