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Forum Guide to Metadata
NFES 2009-805
July 2009

Chapter 2. Description of a Metadata System - The Key Points of this Chapter

  • Support for the development, use, and maintenance of a metadata system must exist at the highest levels of the education agency if the system is to reflect the organization's long-range vision, goals, and information needs.
  • The organization's data governance team should consider metadata management as important as any other aspect of the organization's data system.
  • A metadata model can portray a high-level perspective on the relationships between metadata and data, or it can depict a more detailed view of these relationships.
  • Most organizations with metadata systems maintain an inventory of metadata items that address most issues for most users.
  • A data dictionary is an agreed-upon set of clearly and consistently defined elements, definitions, and attributes—and is indispensable to any metadata system. Although many items in a data dictionary can be classified as metadata, data dictionaries differ from metadata systems in that they generally contain only a subset of items and features necessary to understand and navigate data elements and databases.