I am asking users to handle entities (here a subject) with multiple attributes. The first attribute shown here is a numeric value. The second is multi-valued text.

desired experience: 1.5
desired qualification: BE-CS, BE-EC

The values are used for hard comparisons such as "Find all professors who have 'BE-CS' or 'BE-EC' as qualification".

What is the appropriate term for calling 'multi-valued text' for an attribute? I will be using it like:

  • create a new 'multi-valued text' attribute
  • search for some values in this 'multi-valued text' attribute

and such.

And no 'tag': it's never (AFAIK!) used for a context other than attaching a 'soft' associated concept to the entity itself; never to an attribute of the entity.

FYI: I am contemplating the term 'attribute' in the UI, but do correct me if it's not helpful.

  • "code", as in experience codes?
    – Erics
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 10:03
  • 2
    "desired qualification(s)" instead of "desired qualification" comes to mind. Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 11:19
  • Will users only be adding qualifications as in your example, or is it just an example and will users be adding any kind of generic value to a pre-existing key?
    – Rahul
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 11:42

4 Answers 4


I'd call them 'Qualifications'. Users won't be interested in how computers work.

  • I think @aitchnyu is looking for a common term for both qualification and experience and other "entities".
    – JOG
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 14:17

Don't. Tell users what they need to do, not how you are internally processing their data. So you might present the entry fields as

Desired Qualifications
[+Add More]

You might as well post this over at english.

I would want to see a list with more attributes than the two you mention, to sort out what they actually are. But Attribute, Field, Prerequisite, or Entity all sound good to me.

EDIT: As @naoise reacts, of course these terms are not friendly to normal users. Creating content, forcing them into the abstract metas of their own data, is for super users. So name it what it is. You wont gain UX by naming complex elements to "Thingie". ;)

  • I don't agree. Attribute, field and entity aren't too user-friendly, and pre-requisite is broad. Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 11:33
  • I agree, it's not.
    – JOG
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 13:39

I think a little more context might be handy, but to check I'm understanding you: you're saying that users can add attributes to ... something... and the values of some of those attributes consist of one or more items each taken from a controlled vocabulary? I'm still not totally clear on whether you want a term for the field itself ('desired qualification'), or for each of the values ('be-cs').

Anyway, I think set or list might be a useful word:

  • attribute set, attribute list
  • tag set, attribute list

(I don't quite understand your objection to 'tag' - yes, it's sometimes appropriate to refer to controlled vocabulary items as tags, not just to folksonomies).

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