Data is defined in terms of:
Master data refers to reference information that is key to the
operation of business.
This key business information includes data about customers, products,
employees, materials, suppliers, etc. and is mostly non-transactional.
Master data may however support transactional processes and operations.
Master data defines how the business operates – the business
objects, definitions, classifications, and terminology that describe
business information as well as the context for recording transaction
Master data forms the foundation of analytics and reporting and
for this purpose, it is stored in a data warehouse or data marts.
An important part of any BI Program is the agreement of persistent,
non-transactional Master Data that defines a business entity.
Master Data is managed by the discipline of Master
Data Management [MDM].
In simple terms, Metadata is essentially data about data. A more
sophisticated defintion may be - Metadata is structured, encoded
data that describe characteristics of information-bearing entities
to aid in the identification, discovery, assessment, and management
of the described entities.
In terms of Business Intelligence Systems, meta data is used by
the database processor to determine whether an item of collection
of data will meet the query defined by the user. In this way, Metadata
is used to facilitate the understanding, use and management of data.
Metadata may describe an individual datum, a content item, or a
collection of data.
The metadata required for effective data
management varies with the type of data and context of use.
In an information system, data is the content of the computer files,
metadata refers to an individual data item. This would typically
include the name of the field and its length.
Metadata about a collection of data items typically includes the
name of the file, the type of file and the name of the data administrator.
Types of Metadata
Metadata can be classified by:
- Content - Metadata can either describe the
resource itself [name and size of a file] or the content of the
resource [This image shows ..."].
- Mutability - in terms of the complete resource,
metadata can be either immutable [the "Title" of a video
does not change as the video itself is being played] or mutable
(the "Scene description" does change].
- Logical Function - there are three layers
of logical function:
- Bottom subsymbolic layer that contains the raw data itself
- Middle symbolic layer with metadata describing the raw dat
- Top logical layer containing metadata that allows logical
reasoning using the symbolic layer.
More on Types of Metadata
Metadata may be structured into a hierarchy - called an ontology
Metadata is frequently stored in a central location and used to
help organizations standardize their data. This information is typically
stored in a metadata registry.
Difference Between Data And Metadata
It is often difficult to distinguish between raw data and metadata
- Something can be data and metadata at the same time - the headline
of an article is both its title (metadata) and part of its text
- Data and metadata can change their roles - a poem would be
regarded as data, but if used as lyrics for a song, the entire
poem could be attached to an audio file of the song as metadata.
Thus data / metadata is very much contextual in defintion.
- Metadata is infinite - metadata itself is data, it is possible
to create metadata about metadata, metadata about metadata about
metadata and so on. For this reason, it is essential to archive
metadata about metadata, to keep track of where the metadata originated
from when merging two documents.
Next: Business Rules for BI
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