9.2 3C Communications: Communication Data Source

Purpose:  Use this document to create PS Queries for any additional data elements that are needed besides the Generic Process Data.

Audience:  CS Support Staff

You must have at least one of these local college managed security roles:

  • ZZ CC Standard Letter Tbl

If you need assistance with the above security roles, please contact your local college supervisor or IT Admin to request role access.

The ctcLink Support team sets up Communication Data Sources and Report Definitions. This QRG gives details regarding the process, but college users will need to submit a ctcLink Support Ticket to have these created.

Related QRGs:

3C Communications: Communication Data Source

Communication data sources are a necessary component of any 3C communication. They are used to pull data about the communication's recipient. Users can also download communication data sources and use them to insert live fields or "merge fields" into a 3C communication template.

Communication data sources are created and maintained by SBCTC Support. Users must submit a ticket to create or modify a communication data source.

Understanding Communication Data Sources

Multiple communications can use a communication data source. Templates for these communications are stored on the Report Definition page. When a Report Definition is created for use as a 3C communication template, it's attached to that communication's Letter Code.

The image is of a Communication Datasource flow

Three types of data are pulled by a communication data source.

  1. Data Source Context data: Every communication data source is associated with an administrative function. Data Source Context data returns the communication's administrative function variable data. For example:
    • Communication data sources using the SENR administrative function will return the Academic Career (ACAD_CAREER),
    • Class Number (CLASS_NBR) and Academic Term (STRM) associated with the communication
    • Communication data sources tied to the STRM administrative function will return the communication's associated
    • Academic Career (ACAD_CAREER) and Academic Term (STRM) values
    • Communication data sources using FINA will return the Aid Year (AID_YEAR) associated with the communication. Data Source Context data is generally not included as a live field in the communication template; values like "WA220" or "2201" do not mean anything to most recipients.
  2. Generic Process Data: Generic process data includes data related to sending a communication, such as a recipient's various names, addresses, and email addresses. It also pulls information about checklists, enclosures, and joint recipients. Generic Process Data is often included as a live field in the communication template to display information like the recipient's name or address in the communication.

Generic Process data can be marked as "critical data" using the Critical Data checkbox. If data is marked as critical, users can decide on the Communication Generation page what should happen if that critical data is missing-- should the communication be produced anyways, and should the communication be marked as complete? In general, data should only be marked as Critical Data if it is integral to sending the communication. For example, having a student's physical mailing address would not be essential to send an email to a student informing them that they have been enrolled in a class from the waitlist.

Email Address as Critical Data

For email communications, the student's email address will be treated as Critical Data even if the "Email Address for Person" data row is not marked as Critical Data in the communication data source.

  1. Custom Extract Data: Custom extract data queries (CEDQs) can be used to pull additional information in a communication template. Common uses include queries that pull translate values, such as term, class, and college descriptions and queries that pull additional information about the recipient, such as their residency or admit type. CEDQs are only necessary if a communication must include live fields beyond "the basics": the administrative function data (Data Source Context data) or the recipient's names, addresses, or email addresses (Generic Process Data).
The image displays the Communication Data Source page highlighting three sections-Data source context, Generic Process Data, and Custome Extract Data

A communication data source pulls three types of data.

Data Source Context data: Every communication data source is associated with an administrative function. Data Source Context data returns the communication's administrative function variable data. For example:

  • Communication data sources using the SENR administrative function will return the Academic Career (ACAD_CAREER), Class Number (CLASS_NBR), and Academic Term (STRM) associated with the communication
  • Communication data sources tied to the STRM administrative function will return the communication's associated Academic Career (ACAD_CAREER) and Academic Term (STRM) values.
  • Communication data sources using FINA will return the Aid Year (AID_YEAR) associated with the communication. Data Source Context data is generally not included as a live field in the communication template; values like "WA220" or "2201" do not mean anything to most recipients.
  1. Generic Process Data: Generic process data includes data related to sending a communication, such as a recipient's various names, addresses, and email addresses. It also pulls information about checklists, enclosures, and joint recipients. Generic Process Data is often included as a live field in the communication template to display information like the recipient's name or address in the communication.

Generic Process data can be marked as "critical data" using the Critical Data checkbox. If data is marked as critical, users can decide on the Communication Generation page what should happen if that critical data is missing-- should the communication be produced anyways, and should the communication be marked as complete?

In general, data should only be marked as Critical Data if it is integral to sending the communication. For example, having a student's physical mailing address would not be essential to send an email to a student informing them that they have been enrolled in a class from the waitlist.

Email Address as Critical Data

For email communications, the student's email address will be treated as Critical Data even if the "Email Address for Person" data row is not marked as Critical Data in the communication data source.

  1. Custom Extract Data: Custom extract data queries (CEDQs) can be used to pull additional information in a communication template. Common uses include queries that pull translate values, such as term, class, and college descriptions and queries that pull additional information about the recipient, such as their residency or admit type. CEDQs are only necessary if a communication must include live fields beyond "the basics": the administrative function data (Data Source Context data) or the recipient's names, addresses, or email addresses (Generic Process Data).

Building Custom Extract Data Queries (CEDQs)

Queries must be built in a particular way in order to be used as a Custom Extract Data Query (CEDQ). College users should work with their local query developers to build a new CEDQ, College query developers can submit a ticket if they need assitance building a new CEDQ.

The timestamps listed at the bottom of the page indicate when the communication data source was first registered (Registered Date/ Time) and when it was last updated (Last Update Date/ Time). The EMPLID of the user who performed the action is listed next to the timestamp.

The View/ Download Sample Data File hyperlink is used to view the data fields that are included in the communication data source. This is also the link that is used to download the communication data source in order to use it while building a communication template.

Choosing (or Building) a Communication Data Source for a 3C Communication

Navigation:  NavBar > Navigator > Campus Community > Communications > Set Up Communications > Communication Data Source

Multiple communications can use the same communication data source. Existing communication data sources can be reviewed on the Communication Data source page (Campus Community > Communications > Set Up Communications > Communication Data source). When selecting from existing communication data sources, consider the following:

  • Does the communication data source use the same administrative function as the communication being built? All components of a 3C communication, including the communication data source, must use the same administrative function.
  • Has any data in the data source been marked as critical data? Does the communication being built need to have critical data?
  • Does the communication being built need to pull additional information about the recipient besides "the basics" of the recipient's name and addresses? If so, does the communication data source have a Custom Extract Data Query (CEDQ) that pulls the information needed for the communication template, or does a new CEDQ need to be built?

Most communications can use a preexisting communication data source, though there are a few scenarios in which a new communication data source will need to be built:

  • There isn't an existing communication data source that references the appropriate administrative function
  • The college desires an institution-specific communication data source
  • The use of an existing data source would require significant modifications to that data source that would negatively impact other colleges using the data source (i.e., marking specific data as Critical Data or the removal or modification of a CEDQ query)

SBCTC maintains communication data sources. Submit a ticket to request a new communication data source or modify an existing communication data source.

Downloading a Communication Data Source to Add Live Fields to a 3C Communication Template

BI Publisher

Users need BI Publisher, a Plug-in for Microsoft Word, to easily add live fields to a communication template.

Download and install the BI Publisher Plug-in for Microsoft Word from the Oracle website or navigate to the following page to download BI Publisher in ctcLink: Navigation:  NavBar > Navigator > Reporting Tools > BI Publisher > Setup > Design Helper

When installed correctly, the BI Publisher tab appears on the ribbon in Microsoft Word. Refer to the following QRG to troubleshoot BI Publisher installation issues: Troubleshooting: BI Publisher Ribbon does not Appear.

Navigation:  NavBar > Navigator > Campus Community > Communications > Set Up Communications > Communication Data Source

  1. The Communication Data Source search page displays.
  2. Enter Data Source Map ID or Administrative Function and click Search. Select the appropriate communication data source.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page. Click the "View/Download Sample Data File" hyperlink.
The image highlights the View/Download Sample Data File
  1. A new tab will open, displaying the communication data source XML code. Right-click somewhere on the new page and select "Save Page As..." or "Save As" to save the file. Save the file as an XML Document file.
The image displays the XML Schema
  1. Open Microsoft Word and open the appropriate communication template if it already exists.
  2. Click on the BI Publisher tab to open the BI Publisher menu.
The image highlights the Sample XML icon in Word
  1. Click on the Sample XML icon. A new file window will open. Select the previously saved XML document, then click Open.
The Image displays saving the Schema to your desktop
  1. A small textbox will appear in the middle of the screen: "Data loaded successfully." Click OK.
The image highlights the Textbox informing you that the Data loaded was successful
  1. The communication data source is now loaded into Microsoft Word and ready for use.

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