Reference data service platform

Glossary of terms

What is a code list?

A code list is data used solely to categorise other data found in a database. Code lists are known by a variety of names: reference data, drop-down lists, constrained lists, constrained value tables, lookup tables, lookup lists, database tables, or just plain tables. They are present in all databases, and are a way of storing and presenting information in a structured way that saves space and enables efficient searching.

An Open Platform

The service is free to the public, private and third sectors and open data1 is available for free use, re-use2 and distribution under the “Open Government Licence” (OGL) and/or the appropriate Creative Commons licence.


A way of grouping code lists together (rather like an iPod play list). For example, grouping together all code lists published by the International Standards Organisation, e-Gov data standards (e-GIF) and the Police National Database (PND).

What are Listpoint mappings?

If two IT systems use different code lists, but need to exchange information, this causes a problem. To avoid any complications, multiple code lists can be mapped together by way of the Listpoint platform which supports one-to-one, many-to-one, and one-to-many mapping.

Example of a code list mapping


We encourage the distribution and sharing of data through Open Licensing. Code list authors and/or owners define which national or international licence mechanism they wish to publish their data under e.g. Open Government Licence (OGL) for Public Sector Data.

Creative Commons provide a selection of licensing options that data can be shared and attributed under.

1 Data which can be freely used, re-used and re-distributed by anyone.

2 Where there is no charge or fee to the user for the use or re-use of information.