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Forum Guide to Metadata
NFES 2009-805
July 2009

Chapter 2. Description of a Metadata System - Metadata System Governance

If a metadata system is to reflect an education agency's long-range vision, goals, and information needs, support for system development, use, and maintenance must exist at the highest levels of the organization. Management must also make sure that the organization's broader plans are considered adequately and that the metadata policy conforms to existing rules, regulations, and laws to which the organization is subject. And, of course, that adequate funding is budgeted.

Members of the organization's data governance team should consider metadata management to be as important as any other aspect of the organization's data system. As such, data ownership and stewardship responsibilities extend to metadata as well. Organizational leaders have a responsibility to ensure that all roles and duties for managing and using a metadata system are clearly delineated, assigned, and accepted throughout the organization. In addition to ensuring that staff members take their assigned responsibilities seriously, senior management should also develop and enforce policies and procedures that sustain the system and its use.

Many of the principles required for strong data and metadata governance can be found in The Need for Data Governance, available online.Acrobat PDF File (408 KB)

Communication and accountability are as critical to metadata governance as they are to most operations in a school, district, or state education agency. Many organizations face a communications barrier between technical staff and data staff, often due to territorial, political, or data system evolution issues. When different programs, offices, or divisions within the same organization maintain separate data dictionaries, for example, the exchange of data across these entities will be limited or impossible. This communications barrier can be corrected by using universal data governance policies that require coordination, consistency, and standard protocols such as a unified data dictionary.