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What is institutional data?

Definition of institutional data

A piece of data is considered institutional if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • The data is relevant to planning, managing, operating, or auditing a major administrative function of the university.
  • The data is referenced or required for use by more than one organizational unit.
  • The data is used to derive a data element that meets these criteria.

Classification of data

As a foundation for making decisions about data access, there are four general classifications of institutional data:

  • Public data: Few restrictions; general public may be granted access. (Some data elements classified as public may have certain dissemination restrictions. For more information, contact the Office of the VP and General Counsel.)

  • University-internal data: May be accessed by all eligible employees of the university, without restriction, in the conduct of university business; should be the "default" classification for all data, and access restrictions should be applied only as required below.

  • Restricted data: Because of legal, ethical, or other constraints, may not be accessed without specific authorization, or only selective access may be granted

  • Critical data: Inappropriate handling of this data could result in criminal or civil penalties, identity theft, personal financial loss, invasion of privacy, and/or unauthorized access to this type of information by an individual or many individuals.

    For a list of data elements classified as critical, see Data Classifications.

Note: Restricted and critical data are considered sensitive. For more, see What is sensitive data, and how is it protected by law?

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Last modified on February 28, 2014.

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