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Data Dictionaries

A Metadata Registry and a Data Dictionary are both tools used in the field of data management to provide information about data assets within an organisation or across organisations. They differ in purpose, scope and level of granularity, with the Metadata Registry being a broader, enterprise-wide repository for managing metadata across different systems and databases, and a Data Dictionary which is a more focused documentation tool that describes the structure and properties of data elements within a specific database or system. 

The data dictionary helps keep things consistent and accurate. It ensures that everyone who uses the database understands the meaning and structure of the information. It also helps developers build applications that work with the database as they can refer to the data dictionary to understand how the data is organised and how to interact with it.

Metadata.NSW contains an online version of the data dictionaries from the various datasets referenced in this repository. It can be more easily up-dated and maintained by users through the Metadata Registry. 

Here are some specific purposes and benefits of a data dictionary;

  • It helps define and describe the data elements, such as tables, fields, and attributes, used in a database. It provides a clear and concise explanation of each element's purpose, format, data type, constraints, and other relevant details.
  • Serves as a valuable documentation resource for data-related projects and initiatives. It captures the context, definitions, and business rules associated with data elements, enabling effective communication among stakeholders and future reference for maintenance or enhancements.
  • By documenting the rules and standards for data elements, a data dictionary promotes consistency and accuracy across the database. It ensures that all users and developers understand the proper usage and interpretation of data, reducing errors and inconsistencies.
  • It promotes consistency, accuracy, and understanding of data elements, supporting various data-related activities throughout the lifecycle of a system or database.


Click here to browse data dictionaries in Metadata.nsw


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