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Live Data vs. Census Data


Live vs. Census

What is the difference between live and census data?

Depending on your data needs, there are generally two types of data available to you. Read below to gain insight into the difference and how this might affect your request. The Office of Information Technology typically reports from live data while the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) uses census data.

What is 'Live' or Transactional Data?

Live or Transactional Data is data that is of the most recent activity in a source system or of the latest transformation of data into the campus data warehouse. It can represent data that occurred within minutes or hours of when it is available. It can be used for reporting and decision making when you need insight into recent events. Live data still includes all historical data as well but updates to history are made as needed in the source data systems. As data typically improves over time as more information becomes available, transactional data can give you a more accurate picture, however as it is always in a state of being updated, it can change often and usually increases in quality over time. Dashboards that use live data are:


What is 'Census' Data?

Census data is taken at a specific point in time, several times per year. For UTK, this is usually the 14th day of each term and after degrees have been finalized. This data is used in state and federal reporting (including IPEDS and THEC), for other external agencies, and for internal trend reporting. Changes that occur in the source systems after the data capture are usually NOT reflected. It is accurate as of the date captured and is often used to create trend reports where a consistent date of activity is needed. OIRA is the official reporting office for Census data. Dashboards that use census data are:

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