The Context of Your Business Data: Attributes » Unique sets of attribute information: Attribute elements

Unique sets of attribute information: Attribute elements

Attribute elements are the unique sets of information or values of an attribute. For example, in the following diagram, Customer is the attribute and New York NY, Baltimore BA, and Boston BN are elements of the attribute City:

The following example displays the physical warehouse table that stores elements and data for the Customer attribute. Each attribute element is a row in an attribute lookup table in your data warehouse, as shown below:

The Customer attribute is a good example to understand the components of an attribute and the concept of an attribute element. With the Customer attribute, each attribute element is an individual customer. Each customer (attribute element) has its own set of information such as last name, first name, email address, and so on which are defined by the attribute forms (see Column data descriptions and identifiers: Attribute forms).

As shown above, an attribute element is a unique set of information defined by the attribute forms of an attribute. Attribute elements are identified by their browse forms, which should be forms that provide a general description of the attribute element. For example, in the image above, the First Name and Last Name forms are used to identify the attribute elements. Just as you would not refer to a customer by his or her street address, you would not want to use the Address form to identify the Customer attribute elements. For more information on selecting the attribute forms used to identify attribute elements, see Using attributes to browse and report on data.

Attribute elements can be identified in logical data models. As shown below, the attribute Division has multiple attribute elements, such as Men’s Clothing, Shoes, and Sporting Goods:

In MicroStrategy reports, attribute elements are displayed depending on the location of the attribute they are associated with. For example, the report below has two attributes, Sales Organization and Year. Sales Organization is on the rows of the report along with its attribute elements such as USA Central. Year is on the columns of the report along with its attribute elements such as 2005.

The display of attributes and their attribute elements is also affected by the location of the metrics on the report. The report above uses the common practice of putting the metrics (Sales Orders Quantity (Base Units) and Cost Sales Orders) on the columns of the report.