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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

1. Getting Started

1.1 How This Manual Is Organized

This manual is organized to serve two different audiences:

  • Newcomers who need a thorough introduction to the classification system, how it is built, how to use and apply it properly, and how to enhance an institution’s management of its facilities by using this system.
  • Experienced users who already know the facilities classification system and are interested in using this document primarily as a reference tool.

Newcomers should read this document thoroughly before embarking on any efforts to classify their space inventories. Experienced users are likely to be most interested in the section describing changes since the last edition; chapter 4, Space Use Codes, the core of the system; and chapter 6, Emerging Issues.  For a quick start to this new edition, refer to the Changes Since the Last Revision section of the Introduction.

This document is organized as follows:  chapter 1 covers getting started/orientation; chapter 2, basic database principles; chapter 3, area measurement; chapter 4, room and space use codes; chapter 5, data analysis and reporting; and chapter 6, emerging issues. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 contain a set of questions and answers that relate to the content of the particular chapter. It should be noted that some of the questions and answers appear in more than one chapter. This was done deliberately if a question pertained to the content of more than one chapter so that all relevant questions and answers would be available in the appropriate chapters.

The topic chapters are followed by several appendixes.  The appendixes provide more detail than was warranted in the main body of the manual.  In particular, appendix A provides guidance in using the FICM for data reporting and interinstitutional data exchange; appendix B provides additional detail on the NACUBO and OMB functional categories; appendix C provides additional detail on the Classification of Instructional Program codes for Academic Disciplines; appendix D provides a suggested method for classifying infrastructure; appendix E provides a detailed method for describing the maintenance level of facilities; appendix F provides an integrated number coding structure that encompasses assignable and nonassignable space and infrastructure classifications; and appendix G contains a glossary.

Many institutions already maintain sophisticated facilities inventories; others may not have collected facilities data or may find their inventories so out of date that they will wish to start over.  Chapter 1 is provided primarily for those who are unfamiliar with facilities inventory methods or with the FICM system.