Dataset vs. data set

rainbowgoblin

New Member
Canada - English & French
I'm wondering about the word "dataset". It seems to be in pretty common usage in technical writing these days, compared to "data set", which dictionary.com tells me originated in the early '70s. MS Word's spell checker catches "dataset", but since both data and set are bound to be in its dictionary, I'm not sure that "dataset" is wrong so much as just not in the dictionary.

Is the usage of "dataset" common enough that it's acceptable? Or should I stick with "data set"?
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think this is probably too technical a term to expect much help from dictionaries (and bear in mind that Microsoft spell-checker is not very authoritative. I can only see "data set" in dictionaries, but this Wikipedia article suggests dataset is an acceptable alternative. However the article on the topic is called "data set".

    It may not matter which you choose, but if, say, you are on a computer science course I would recommend following the spelling used in primary text books.
     

    rainbowgoblin

    New Member
    Canada - English & French
    It's actually for a thesis and a journal article that I'm writing at the same time, so I guess I'm part of setting the standard. I used to stick exclusively with "data set", but since I've been seeing "dataset" more, and I kind of like it better, I think I'll do my part to see it stick.
     

    vost

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    For me, a dataset is a common name used to talk about data that come from the same origin (are in the same file, the same database, etc.) while a data set is a more general set of data. Dataset designate the common source of data.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In the world I am familiar with (UK health information) the terms are used more or less interchangeably. A search on the Information Standards Board website lists 153 hits for dataset, 106 for data set. I can't tell the difference.

    I suggest you find out what is preferred in the institution you are submiting the thesis to and stick with that. Be consistent :)
     
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