Term Definition
API If you want to use to make your own app, the API (Application Programming Interface) lets you get to the data programmatically. For details on how to use the API go to

An Application Programming Interface is a set of functions, procedures, methods or classes used by computer programs to request services from the operating system, software libraries or any other service providers running on the computer. A computer programmer uses the API to make application programs. (source:
Atlas Atlas is a feature designed to enable search and browsing of geographical areas.
Concept Scheme A concept scheme is a collection of concepts about a topic. A concept scheme often acts as a list of possible values for a certain property of a resource (i.e. possible objects for RDF triples) On there is a list of concept schemes here:

Select the concept scheme of interest to get to related datasets.

At time of writing, there are over 100 concept schemes. Examples include:

  • Population Group
  • SIMD Domain
  • SIMD quintiles
CSV CSV stands for comma-separated values. On you have the option to download data as a csv file. A CSV file stores tabular data (numbers and text) in plain text. Each line of the file is a data record. Each record consists of one or more fields, separated by commas. The use of the comma as a field separator is the source of the name for this file format. (source: Any text editor, including Excel, can open a csv file.
Cube Utilities To understand cube utilities, we need to understand what a cube is first. View the datacube definition below. Cube utilities are tools relating to a datacube. These are for developers and can be found here:
Data Cart The Data Cart helps you compare data across datasets. You can add rows and columns from different datasets to create your own, bespoke spreadsheet. An example of when this is useful is when you’re comparing data across authorities.For example, the data cart makes it possible to select the Datazones in a council area and download population data at datazone level. This is a fairly common requirement which is made easy with the data cart and area browsing.For more information on how to use the data cart go to:
Datacube A datacube (cube) is a way of describing the different dimensions of data. For example, in a table of Olympic data for 2012, countries could form rows and number of gold, silver and bronze medals the columns. Add other years though (like 2004, 2008) and you need other spreadsheets (we can imagine them stacked back to back like a Rubik’s cube).A datacube, though, can have even more dimensions than a regular 3D cube. For example, other dimensions for data relating to the olympics might also include gender and Paralympic data.

For more on this, a useful tutorial for this can be found here:

Dataset A dataset is a collection of related data. Statistical datasets (stored on as datacubes) contain observations with common variables (dimensions of the cube).
Deprecated Dataset Some datasets may be highlighted with a flag saying “Deprecated Dataset”. This occurs where a dataset has been replaced by an updated version, but the original dataset has to be retained, in case other people have linked to the dataset or are accessing it via the APIs.
Dereference URI See also “URI”. To dereference a URI means to go to it on the Web and get back the information held about the resource identified by the URI.
JSON JSON is a file format, which is an acronym for JavaScript Object Notation. This is a text format, that can be easily converted to a Javascript object for use in web-based applications.
Multidimensional Data Multidimensional data is data that has more than two dimensions. Examples of dimensions include: reference area, reference period, gender, age, measure type, indices of deprivation etc. For more on understanding multidimensional data, a useful tutorial can be found here: See also: Datacube.
Ontologies An ontology is a set of classes and properties about a certain topic area. These can be used for resources' types and properties (predicates) respectively. On, a list of ontologies can be found here:

Examples of ontologies include:
  • An ontology of statistical quality
  • An ontology of terms for postcodes
  • Organisation On organisations are groups which produce the data. Groups on the site include: Accountant in Bankruptcy, National Records of Scotland, NHS Information Services Division, Revenue Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, SEPA, Transport Scotland, VisitScotland.

    Organisations in the Atlas section of are different - they’re groups that have data about them (they’re not groups which produce the data). These groups include Educational Establishment Groups and Educational Establishments.
    RDF RDF stands for Resource Description Framework, and is one of the standards for representing Linked Data on the web.
    SPARQL SPARQL is a computer language used to search for, and get back, information from databases. “SPARQL is an RDF query language, that is, a semantic query language for databases, able to retrieve and manipulate data stored in Resource Description Framework (RDF) format.” (source:
    SPARQL Query A SPARQL query is a search enquiry written in the SPARQL language and designed to extract specific information from a database.
    URI A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a string of characters used to identify a resource. (source: In Linked Data, URIs are used to identify things and concepts about which we want to publish data. The URI also serves as a URL where you can look up information about that resource (see “Deference URI”).
    Theme Themes on are a way to organise and browse the datasets. Each theme contains relevant datasets to it. Themes include: Population, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, Crime and Justice, Housing, Education, Skills & Training
    Vocabularies Vocabularies define the terms used to describe the data. On vocabularies are stored as concept schemes and ontologies. Go to these definitions for more detail.

    XML is short for Extensible Markup Language and is a set of rules that define a way of encoding documents so that they are human-readable and machine-readable. This is a download format that may be opened in any software that can read XML files, such as the Microsoft Office suite, or