How To Use The DED

If you create CIRS ad hoc reports, the Data Element Dictionary is an invaluable tool. It contains descriptions of all the files (databases) and fieldnames available in CIRS. Since the inception of CIRS, the DED has evolved from a bulky printed document, to a help file, to a password protected website.


If you still have an old DED binder on your desk, or an old DED help file on your computer, get rid of them! The information in those versions is obsolete. The website is updated on a continuous basis so you always have access to current information. If you need the userid and password for the DED, contact your CIRS Security Coordinator or call the CIRS Hotline.


Here are some tips for using the DED:

  • Use the search tab in the navigation pane to locate topics that contain a specific word or words. To locate the word(s) within a topic, click anywhere on topic page and then use your browser’s FIND function to search the page.

  • A generic fieldname is used for descriptions of data elements that are available in multiple databases. For example, the fieldname for class code is XX:CLASS. When using the fieldname in a report request, substitute the XX with the database abbreviation. For example, if using the Active Current Status file, the fieldname would be AC:CLASS.

  • For defined fields, the DED provides the FOCUS commands used to generate the field and it's values. If you want to modify the define in your report request, use your mouse to highlight text in the DED, then copy and paste the text into your report requests.

  • The copy and paste technique described above is also useful for fieldnames with unusual spelling and lengthy coding values.

  • Sample report requests, along with a sample of the output, are available for each database. These reports typically illustrate standard use of the specific file, but also provide examples of report writing techniques. All sample reports are also available in the common library.




Last Updated: December 2, 2003