I am stuck on a word choice problem. I have a large amount of response related data, which were previously stored such that each datum lay within one of the following realms:

  1. law enforcement
  2. health and safety
  3. hazardous materials, or
  4. other

In order to reduce a significant amount of double entry I have decided to switch the coding so that realm is simply an attribute of each datum. I am also doing this for jurisdiction (e.g., state, local, federal) and some other like attributes that were stored as realms.

My question is, "Is there one word that clearly describes the difference in kind for these four types?"

Any hints well appreciated, as the word choice here will influence the structure of a large number of models based on these data.

The closest I've come so far is vocation, but this seems overly general.

edit 1: each datum denotes a a response action taken such as hospitalization, arrest, or called out (i.e., visited the scene).

edit 2: An example datum might be represented like so:

> {???}: Law Enforcement
   - jurisdiction: Local
        + agency: Police
            * measure: Arrest

While it's clearly tempting to place these into a hierarchy, but I must avoid duplicate entries, so I am trying to encode the agency and allow many different agencies to use the same action.

edit 3: In order to clarify I'll phrase as a simile:

Apples and oranges are to fruits what law enforcement and health/safety are to ...

  • What is the nature of the datum itself? I think you'll probably end up with a compound word here, so that will be helpful. – Chris B. Behrens Feb 8 '11 at 22:31
  • @Chris each datum is an action taken (e.g., arrest, hospitalization, building closure). I'll edit the question. – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 22:33
  • Thanks so much for taking an interest in this problem. Apologies, it seems I did not ask the question well enough the first time and so I've made some updates. – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 23:08

I would say "Incident Type". If those four zones refer to departments (maybe who responded to it?), you might go with "Incident Responder" or "Incident Department".

  • thanks for posting, but we already use "Incident Type" to describe the response trigger (e.g., crime, accident). I think that works ok. As far as responder or department, we break each response out by who is doing the response. It looks like I asked my question poorly, I'll see if I can fix it. – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 22:48
  • I think department is after all the closest to what I am trying to describe. It doesn't seem exacting, but it is much closer than my stab, vocation. Thanks – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 23:31
  • You are most welcome. Are you in the process of getting this data into a database, perhaps? – Chris B. Behrens Feb 8 '11 at 23:32
  • Moving form one to another :) Mostly, I want to normalize as I make the transition. – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 23:33
  • Yup...both of those will just be foreign keys to Department and IncidentType tables. – Chris B. Behrens Feb 8 '11 at 23:40

I quite like DOMAIN - They look sort of like CIVIC_DEPARTMENTS maybe ??


Would Domain work? (I'm assuming that you don't like "realm" for some reason.)

Edit: another possibility that might fit the edited question better is Agency.

  • the issue is not with realm exactly, I am trying to figure out which word makes the most sense to describe the difference in agency type. I was hoping there might be a perfect word like fruit to oranges and apples. – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 23:02
  • I think agency fits better for police rather than law enforcement, but if that were not in the equation it would make sense to me. – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 23:29

If each denotes a response taken, what about simply result or outcome? Those are general enough to cover any type of response, but convey the meaning of something having been done as a consequence.

  • yes each datum denotes a response measure, but I am trying to describe the top-level (e.g. health and safety) without pulling in the bottom level. – jnewman Feb 8 '11 at 23:03

"Apples and oranges are to fruit as law enforcement and health/safety are to..."

  • Municipal Services
  • Government Agencies
  • Civil Agencies
  • Community Services

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