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About Data Source Management

Data Source Management (DSM) is a flexible method for identifying sets of data from multiple external sources so that they can be managed within a single Blackboard Learn database. A data source is a logical set of data, sometimes simply associated with a source system, other times associated with type and term data as well.

During the planning processes, institutional business rules were identified as well as all the systems involved with storing institutional data that will be used in Blackboard Learn to create courses, populate courses, disable and delete records, and so on. This information is vital to deciding how to organize and manipulate the data within the Blackboard Learn database.

All data that is pushed to the Blackboard Learn database is tagged with a data source identifier. These identifiers, called Data Source Keys (DSKs), are created in the Admin Panel or by using the Data Source Management (DSM) Tool. DSKs are the means by which certain data sets are managed.

Data Source Keys parse large amounts of data into smaller entities by tagging them with a unique identifier. This identifier ties pieces of data together to ensure that they are processed within the system according to institutional practices and identified business rules.

For example, a school has courses that are given in the fall semester, the spring semester and in the summer. All the records come from the same external data source, a database in the Office of the Registrar. If all the courses were kept in the same data set when importing this data into Blackboard Learn, everything time a change needed to take place, such as removing the fall courses from the active course catalog, all the courses would be affected because there is no way to differentiate the fall courses from the spring or summer courses even though they have different attributes. By assigning Data Source Keys to each of the three time frames, courses that are assigned to the fall can be manipulated without affecting the spring or summer courses.