Data assets

Data assets most commonly refer to three types of assets - datasets, identifiers, and registers.

The building blocks of any data innovation programme are the data assets themselves. Having strong data infrastructure at this foundational level can help deliver more value from Smart Data innovation sooner. The ODI definitions of different types of data assets, and their value to Smart Data, are as follows:

  • Identifiers act as labels to help uniquely identify physical and digital objects and services, and as pointers to information online or stored in a variety of databases and systems. Identifiers are critical for integrating data within organisations, between business partners and across sectors and industries. Use of common, standard identifiers helps to stop fraud and create transparency in Smart Data initiatives, as well as support digital markets and value chains such as in Open Banking. Well-known types of identifiers include product barcodes and website URLs.

  • Registers are accurate, complete lists. Typically they are lists of reference data that help to improve consistency and quality in how data is published and used. They help us to build confidence and trust in data by clarifying how different data users are referring to the same things. Having a register of the data and metadata in scope for a Smart Data initiative can provide useful clarity for innovators. Registers include lists of datasets such as those found in the UK Land Registry. A common type of register is a data inventory, a list of datasets with metadata that describes their contents, source, licensing and other useful information.

  • Datasets can be data collected directly by a business, provided by a service user, or the output of a model or analysis. When we think about data assets, we are most likely to think about datasets. At the ODI, we think of data as existing on a spectrum, from closed to open. Smart Data initiatives should invest in data infrastructure along the spectrum to maximise innovation opportunities.

Open data presents opportunities for greater innovation, transparency and collaboration in Smart Data, but may not be familiar to many. Here are some useful tools for organisations looking to work with open data:

Last updated