Carnegie Mellon University

How to Use the Data Catalog

Authorized data domain experts can access the Data Catalog to create and publish data definitions in the catalog and university glossary. Access to the Data Catalog is designated by the appropriate Data Steward for a given data area of domain.

The Data Catalog is powered by the Data Cookbook tool. Authorized individuals can create and view data definitions throughout the stages of the approval workflow. This includes definitions for standard and technical data elements.

The Data Glossary is the dictionary of approved standard data definitions available for use by all CMU faculty and staff.  Technical definitions and draft data definitions are not visible through the Data Glossary.

Data Cookbook Quick Start

Get started with the Data Cookbook by learning how to navigate the tool, find existing definitions, and create new definitions using the steps below.

The Data Cookbook contains all submitted definitions, including those in drafting and review stages. You can see existing definitions, create new definitions, review the latest comments on definitions, and browse other universities' definitions using the tabs at the top of the page.

Tab Name
Use it to...
Home See your tasks (including definitions returned to you for revision) and search the entire Data Cookbook.
Definitions Create a definition or search and browse all definitions in the Data Cookbook, including those in drafting and review stages.
(not yet available)
Search and browse specifications, or report designs, for the university. Specifications allow for consistency in reporting by facilitating replication of a report.
Organization View recent comments and activity on the university's definitions.
Community Browse community definitions used by other universities.

Before you create a definition, you may want to review existing definitions. To find what you need, Search or Browse the university’s definitions

Search for Definitions

Search all definitions in the university's Data Cookbook for a specific word or phrase. 

  1. Log in to with your Andrew ID and password.
  2. Enter your search terms in the Search bar. 
    Note: You can use an asterisk (*) as a wild card to search for a portion of a word (for example, "*Name" might find "Preferred Name" or "Student Name").

Browse Definitions

If you want to view a large category of definitions that share a particular characteristic, you may want to browse definitions. You can narrow your results using the filtering options described below.

  1. Log in to with your Andrew ID and password.
  2. Click the Definitions tab and select Browse Definitions.
  3. To narrow your results, apply the following filters as applicable:
Used to narrow results by:
Functional Area University entities, for example, Human Resources, University Advancement, and the University Registrar.
Definition Source Data system (e.g., SIO) or functional area (e.g., Human Resources) where the definition originated.
Data System Associated origination system as listed in the Data Cookbook (e.g., SIO, Workday, Oracle, etc.)
Tag Custom tag associated with a definition or set of definitions. Data contributors may add a tag when creating a definition to indicate association with a certain project or characteristic (e.g., FERPA protected).
Classification Code Level of data sensitivity and who has access to it (e.g., public, private, restricted).

Create a definition for the Data Cookbook by following the steps below. You can either add a definition manually or import definitions using a CSV file. Once you submit a definition, it enters an approval workflow that includes review by the Data Strategy and Governance Lead and Data Stewards.   

Note: You are required to adhere to the Data Definition Standards when creating a definition. Review the Data Definition Standards Guide before submitting your definition.

Add a Definition Manually

  1. Log in to with your Andrew ID and password.
  2. Click the Definitions tab and select Create a Definition
  3. Complete the following required fields required fields, referring to the Data Definition Standards Guide.
    • Definition Name
    • Functional Definition
    • Other Information
    • Technical Definitions
    • Tags
    • Functional Areas
  4. Do one of the following:
    • Click Save to save your work for later.
    • Click Submit to send your definition into the workflow review process.

Import Definitions from a CSV File

As an alternative to manually adding definitions to the Data Cookbook, you can also import definitions from a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) file.

Note: Existing definitions can be overwritten during this process. If your CSV file contains a definition name that already exists in the Data Cookbook, you will have the option to overwrite it during the import.

To prepare your CSV file:

  1. Visit
  2. Under the Definitions tab, select Import Definitions.
  3. Download the Blank CSV File
  4. Follow the Guidelines for Building your CSV to create a CSV file. 

To import your CSV file:

  1. Visit
  2. Under the Definitions tab, select Import Definitions.
  3. Click Choose File to upload your CSV file, then click Preview to review it. 

Newly imported definitions will be added into the workflow as Drafting and will require review and approval as defined in the Data Definition Standards Guide. 

For additional guidance, visit Data Cookbook Workshop – How to Import Definitions.


Follow the steps below to create a link that opens at a specific definition in the Data Glossary.
  1. Using a Chrome or Firefox browser, navigate to the Data Glossary.
  2. Right-click and select View Page Source.
  3. Click Ctrl / Command + F to search for the definition you want to link to.
  4. Near the definition name, locate the id (Example: when you search for the definition Household Account, you will see id="275726">).
  5. To create the link, append a hashtag (#) and the id number (no quotation marks) to the end of the Data Glossary URL. (Example: the link to Household Account would be:

Data Cookbook Quickstart for Data Stewards

A data steward can review tasks in the Data Cookbook by selecting My Tasks on the Home tab.

To view definitions and their stage in the approval workflow, use the Definitions tab and select Definition Queue.

Note: Several search options are listed at the top of the page. Data stewards can also search by the individual who entered the definition in the Data Cookbook (Originator).

The data steward is responsible for approving definitions in the Data Cookbook. As a data steward, you can approve, reject or make changes to the definition.

  1. Log in to with your Andrew ID and password.
  2. Select My Tasks on the Home tab and then the definition to approve.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Click Approve (right).
    • Select Other Actions to reject or send it back to a draft state.
    • Click Edit (pencil icon) to make changes and then Update or Cancel. Once the definition is updated. Click Approve

Note: Include comments when a definition is rejected or sent to draft. This should include changes that need to be made or the reason for rejection.