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Organizing data

Making sense of data

Once data has been collected, it has to be checked/edited for consistency and structured for easy access. Datasets should be grouped by topic or theme and described with both keywords and brief explanations for users to be able to find. Part of this organization is the use of a taxonomy or classification scheme. Taxonomies guide thinking about the data by establishing broad categories, sub-categories, and members. These categorical relationships between different sets of information can be diagrammed as trees, with category members branching off from categories.

Universal taxonomy for development

The following taxonomy (version 1.1, last modified 2 June 2015) has been developed by Open Development Mekong partners for collective use. There are 17 top-level categories, which are shown below along with second-level subcategories:

  • Agriculture and fishing
  • Aid and development
  • Disasters and emergency response
  • Economy and commerce
  • Energy
  • Environment and natural resources
  • Extractive industries
  • Government
  • Industries
  • Infrastructure
  • Labor
  • Land
  • Law and judiciary
  • Population and censuses
  • Social development
  • Urban administration and development
  • Science and Technology

For different countries, there will be attention on different sub-categories, as determined by organizational and national priorities. However, this taxonomy can guide both the understanding of areas of development (by showing the larger picture) and the organization of data that is collected (such as tagging). A process for proposing changes to this taxonomy will be established so that refined conceptualizations can be documented.

To use the interactive version of this illustration, download the XMind software and open the visualization file (request ODM admin for the file).

Also find the latest taxonomy definition in JSON format under:

public/organizing_data.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/23 15:04 (external edit)