Data dictionaries are repositories of information about a project’s data such as an explanation of its meaning, relationships to other data, origin, usage and formatting.
[tweet_quote]Documenting key metadata will improve data validity across the scope of the project. [/tweet_quote]Communication is also improved through the understanding created by the definitions in the data dictionary. Here are a few guidelines to help in creating a data dictionary:
Every project has its own unique set of data. Understanding the functionality of any project and clearly defining its requirements will help to delineate the elements needed to create a data dictionary. Decide the Format
Data dictionaries are generally broken down into tables. For this reason, programs like Microsoft Excel are commonly used. Tables can be as simple as a header with one column describing a set of data with the second column being a corresponding database entry. Other tables may be more complex. A data dictionary can contain the rules for usage of a fillable form. A table of this data could include information such as a field name, type of data, length of a field to be filled, if the field is required to be completed, and more. Make it Flexible
For many projects, data dictionaries will continued to be used after the project is built. A data dictionary can be a living document that is in need of adjustment from time to time. Leave room for the tables to be extended or for new data points to be added. Expansion must be carefully addressed because of the potential ramifications of concept migration, the change of an idea or concept over time through growth or change to the system.
Data dictionaries are one of the proven methods we use at Galvin Technologies. If you have any questions on data dictionaries, please leave a comment below.