U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

New Mexico Decedent Image Database: Accessing and Using Metadata

Event Dates
Event Duration
1 hour

In the second webinar, participants will explore the types of data included in the New Mexico Decedent Image Database. The Data Dictionary contains all variables in the database and additional information about that data. This includes the definition, data source, cardinality, and answer list.

The definition can be used to ensure that the data field the researcher is collecting contains the information the researcher is studying. The data source includes three options: the medical examiners database, phone interviews with next of kin, or both. The benefits and negatives of each data source will be discussed. The medical examiner data can come from the scene, medical record, and interviews with family and friends. The next of kin interviews may be from close or distant family members. Lastly, the possible answers for each field will be reviewed. The source of the answer lists will also be discussed, as some answers come from the creators of the database, the Office of the Medical Investigator, and nationally and internationally used data standards. The participants will learn how to use the data dictionary to format the variables used in their research. This will ensure that the data is used properly and contains the needed information.

In addition, participants will explore two pathways of processing data after downloading it from the website. Data is downloaded in multiple CSV files, one from each table of the relational database (for a total of eight files). Each CSV file contains the de-identified record number for the 15,243 decedents in the database. The main data table is decedents.csv and contains data on the sex, gender, age, and other demographic information. Other files include ancestry, chromosomal abnormalities, distinctions, environmental history, medical history, medications, and substance usage. Participants will review the types of data present in each file.

Participants will also learn how to use the eight data files to perform simple and complex queries on the data. A simple query is one in which only one data table is used.  A complex query requires using a relational database software to link the de-identified record number between the eight data files. Multiple examples of simple and complex queries will be performed. Complex queries will use Microsoft Access as it is a commonly used relational database.

Date Created: September 8, 2020