One of the most important elements of any data analysis platform is connecting your data across various Tables and Sources. The Numetric Dictionary allows you to connect your tables together so that you can utilize data across all of your available sources.
Unlike in other data tools, you won't be building a database schema. We've created a clean, minimalistic experience that anyone can learn to use, without any complex programming.
The main role of the Numetric Dictionary is to help you establish Primary Key to Foreign Key relationships among Tables using Dictionary Terms. Creating and maintaining these Terms is one of the most important elements of Numetric, as it allows you to fully utilize your data, regardless of which Table contains it.
To help illustrate this, let’s look at an example. In our scenario below, we have three Tables: a Customer Table, an Orders Table, and a Service Table. While each of these Tables has a unique primary key (e.g. Customer Table = customer ID, Order Table = order number, and Service Table = service ticket number).
Notice that two Tables contain a field with the customer ID number, however, only the Orders Table has it listed as the primary key. This is a perfect candidate for creating a Dictionary Term. By creating a ‘Customer’ Term in Dictionary we can tell Numetric that the Customer ID fields from the Orders Table and the Customer ID field from the Customer Table contain the same values.
Once those fields have been linked using the Customer Term, Numetric can easily connect these Tables in order to build linked sets of data about customers, their shipments, and any associated customer service tickets. You will also notice that a similar Term can also be created connecting the Order Number on the Service Table, with the Order Number on the Orders Table.
As you can see, any time you want to reference information across multiple Tables, you will need to first create a Dictionary Term to make that possible.
For you database people, you'll recognize that what we've done here is identify the main, defining table for a key piece of data, and then identified the foreign keys that point to that defining table. But you'll also (hopefully) recognize that we aren't forcing you to think about this in database terms. There's no reason to complicate this any further.
It is important to note that when using a SQL connection, you may see Dictionary Terms that are pre-populated. That is because Numetric reads your existing database schema and converts them to Numetric Dictionary Terms.
Did I just Join my Tables?
I want to point out an important distinction about what we've just done in Dictionary. While we have identified relationships among our Tables, we have not actually joined anything together to create a merged set of data.
On the Numetric platform, we have intentionally separated the cleaning, transformation, and organization activities (all of which happen in Tables) from the actual joining of data into a usable, analyzable form. The reason? By keeping data in its pure, separated form in Tables, we allow the data curation team to do all of the heavy lifting in organizing and managing their organization's data, and we believe they should only have to do that once.
Now that you have established the relationships between all of your Tables, you are ready to move on to the next step -- building a Dataset. Up to this point, most of your work has not been targeting any specific project or question you want to answer. That is all about to change. With all of the data preparation out of the way, you can now focus on selecting the data you want to examine in your Workbooks.