Simple Checks to Avoid Common Errors

Review the Core Data Dictionary

  • When preparing your files be careful to follow the guidelines laid out in the Core Data Dictionary. The dictionary will define each piece of data, help you determine if the data is required, and how it should appear in your file. Many frequently asked questions can be answered by reviewing the Core Data Dictionary.

.CSV Files

  • Files must be imported as comma separated value (.csv) files.
  • If you see unexpected characters, check to ensure your .csv is using UTF-8 encoding.
  • Do not rename files from another format (.xlsx, .txt, etc.) to .csv as this will result in the file being unreadable when imported into your Management site.

Do Not Open and Save Files in excel Before an Import!

  • Opening a .csv file in excel to review it can change the formatting of the file. One of the most common issues resulting from this is zeros dropping from the beginning of a number.  Dropped zeros can change numeric identifiers, essentially creating a new identifier, and possibly duplicate data.  Ensure your identifiers are accurate and contain all characters before an import.

Include a Manifest when Sending Files Over sFTP

  • With every file uploaded to an sFTP directory, a .done manifest is required.
  • Remember to save your manifest with the suffix of “. done”.
  • The .done manifest must contain the name of the file(s) you are uploading in the XML content of the manifest. If you are uploading a file called accounts.csv, your XML should appear as shown:


Ensure Person Identifiers in Accounts Match what is being sent through Authentication

  • When populating the Accounts file ensure that the Person Identifier you are using matches what you are passing across in authentication for that user.

Ensure Identifiers are Unique

  • Identifiers for Accounts, Org Units, Terms, Courses, and Sections MUST be unique and unchanging.
  • Once an Identifier is in Core Data it cannot be deleted.
  • Be careful of typos and dropped zeros! 
    • A typo in an identifier will create a new record, and potentially appear as a duplicate in your Campus Labs platform.

Double Check the Headers

  • Header rows are required for all files.
  • Ensure that you have included all column headers as listed in the Core Data Dictionary. Column headers are needed for both required and optional fields.
  • Headers need to be spelled correctly, and are Case Sensitive!



Order in Which Files Should be Imported

  • Accounts
  • Organizational Units
  • Academic Terms
  • Courses
  • Sections
  • Attributes
  • Instructors
  • Enrollments
  • Remove Instructors
  • Academic Programs
  • Demographics


  • Depending on the products your campus is using you may not need to import each of these files.
  • A pause is recommended between each file that is imported. Pause lengths depend on the size of the file but there should be a minimum pause of 15 minutes between files.

Add Terms with Parent Identifiers

  • Only upload terms you know you are going to use. Do not try to upload terms too far into the future or past.
  • Terms need to be imported as a hierarchy. Annual Terms will be at the top, they will break out into Semesters, and Semesters will break out into Intersession. 
  • To create this hierarchy in your file, use the TermIdentifier of the parent term, and add it to the ParentIdentifier column of your child Term as shown in the below example.
  • When importing the term file you will need to import the parent terms individually. 


Clarification on Courses and Sections

  • Courses - Course identifiers do not change.  
    • Example:  English 101 (ENG101) will always be English 101 (ENG101) regardless of how many times it is offered each semester or if is offered in multiple terms.    English 101 – Fall 2016 – Section 1 (2016Fall-ENG101-01) will only be offered one time in the fall of 2016.   The next time the course is offered it would have a new section identifier.   
  • Section identifiers cannot be re-used.
  • Section Attributes – Clarification on Key and Value fields.  The Key is what users will see and what is displayed in the product.  Value is an internal value that is not visible to users.

Review ‘Explore Course Data’

  • If there are any questions or concerns regarding naming conventions you have used previously in the Campus Labs platform, you can review past data from the “explore course data” section of the data management site.


  • From the Explore Course Data screen you can search any of the core data sets to review any data currently residing in Core Data.
  • Reviewing this data can help you avoid entering duplicate Terms and Org Units using new identifiers. Don’t add new records for data already in your system! 


Course Evaluations

  • In order to have reports rolled up to a top reporting level in the Course Evaluations tool a top level unit must be created.
  • This unit would be a child unit of the institution and would be the parent unit of all other units.
  • Most institutions call this unit Academic Affairs.
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