Open Data Glossary

Anonymised data: Data relating to a specific individual where the identifiers have been removed to prevent identification of that individual.

Core-reference data: Authoritative or definitive data necessary to use other information produced by the public sector as a service in itself due to its high importance and value.

Customer insight data: Data or information recording users‘ accounts of their experience, with an assessment of public service providers.

Data: Qualitative or quantitative statements or numbers that are assured to be factual, and not the product of analysis or interpretation.

Data sharing: The transfer of data between different organizations to achieve an improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery. This document assumes that data sharing will continue to operate in line with current domestic legislation and the UK’s international obligations.

Dataset: As defined in the Protection of Freedom Act 2012 :

In this Act “dataset” means information comprising a collection of information held in electronic form where all or most of the information in the collection:

  • has been obtained or recorded for the purpose of providing a public authority with information in connection with the provision of a service by the authority or the carrying out of any other function of the authority,

  • is factual information which

  • remains presented in a way that (except for the purpose of forming part of the collection) has not been organised, adapted or otherwise materially altered since it was obtained or recorded.”

De-anonymisation: The process of determining the identity of an individual to whom a pseudonymised dataset relates.

Disclosive: Data is potentially disclosive if, despite the removal of obvious identifiers, characteristics of this dataset in isolation or in conjunction with other datasets in the public domain might lead to identification of the individual to whom a record belongs.

Information: Output of some process that summarizes, interprets or otherwise represents data to convey meaning. Unless otherwise stated in this document, we will use the term data to include information.

Intellectual property: A set of property rights that grant the right to protect the materials created by them. Intellectual property comprises copyright, designs, patents, certain confidential information and trademarks.

Linked data: Described by an identifier and address to permit linking with other relevant data which might not otherwise be connected, improving discoverability. It may contain embedded links to other data.

Mosaic effect: The process of combining anonymised data with auxiliary data in order to reconstruct identifiers linking data to the individual it relates to.

Open access: Provision of free access to peer-reviewed academic publications to the general public.

Open data: Data that meets the following criteria :

1. accessible (ideally via internet) at no more than the cost of reproduction, without limitations based on user identity or intent;

2. in a digital, machine readable format for interoperation with other data; and

3. free of restriction on use or redistribution in its licensing conditions.

Open Government Data: Public Sector Information that has been made available to the public as Open Data.

Personal Data: As defined by the Open Data Protection Act 1998, data relating to a specific individual where the individual is identified or identifiable in the hands of a recipient of the data.

Pseudonymised data: Data relating to a specific individual where the identifiers have been replaced by artificial identifiers to prevent identification of the individual.

Public data: Anonymised, non-core-reference data on which public services are run and assessed, on which policy decisions are based, or which is collected or generated in the course of public service delivery.

Public Sector Information: Information and data subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 ; data and information produced, collected or held by public authorities as part of their public task.

Source: Open Data White Paper on


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