Pragmatic Works Blog

Top 5 Things to Capture in a Data Dictionary

Written by Pragmatic Works | Feb 14, 2017

At Pragmatic Works, we understand that it’s important to understand the data you are looking at. What if you are unsure of what a certain column or field means? Who do you track down if a bug is happening? Or if a database or server goes down, do you know who owns the data so you can report to them that there is a problem? Creating a Data Dictionary is an extremely important data documentation tool that helps you to better understand your data.

Doc xPress is the perfect tool that makes creating a Data Dictionary easy. We’re here to tell you the 5 things you want to keep in your Data Dictionary. 

#5 – The Business Rules

It’s important to have the business rules that made up a certain field. Let’s say you have a field that may mean different things to different people using the data - an accountant vs. the marketing department, for example. You want to make sure the business rules for fields or columns are explained in the data dictionary, so it’s clear to everyone looking at the data.

#4 – The Regulatory Flags

There are many regulations out there, such as HIPPA and GDPR in Europe. It’s important to know which tables or objects are holding personally identifiable information inside them. Having regulatory flags will allow you to have that information readily available to hand over, to an auditor for example, to give them the information they need.

#3 – Descriptions

Let’s say you have a column which means nothing to third party users like developers or business users. The Data Dictionary is a place where users can find a description or translation of what that column means. This allows developers and business users to track down what a column means when they are writing a report.

#2 – Technical Owners

It’s important to know the technical owner of a change to help when a bug happens or, if you’re in the IT world, who is the technical owner of the SSIS package or reports. Having this information in your Data Dictionary will help to find the right person to fix the problem and drive you to the answer, as well as drive change inside your organization.

#1 – Application and Business Owner

What happens if a database or server goes down? You need a list of business owners, or applications, assigned in your data dictionary that may be effected. Having this information can also help a technical user when creating a report.

Using Doc xPress to create a Data Dictionary, as well as track things like data lineage, will help you to define categories like Business Rules and Regulatory Flags, that you can crowd source to your end users or analysts. Watch our short video to learn more about how Pragmatic Works’ Doc xPress can help you on your way to better understand your data.