A data dictionary contains structured data names defining and describing the data resource.
Definition: Data Dictionary
- A Data Dictionary is a repository of information that defines and describes a data resource.
- A Thesaurus is a structured list of preferred terms around a subject.
- Use widely known keywords and tags for your data in order to make your data more searchable and discoverable.
- Find preferred terms and keywords with a thesaurus (e.g., USGS Biocomplexity Thesaurus).
According to the DOI Data Management Guide [PDF] (2008), a data dictionary is a repository of data (metadata) defining and describing the data resource.
Data Dictionary Definitions
Entity: Fish Measurements - A sample of the physical measurements of rainbow trout in Lake Superior, MN collected on 07/14/2010.
- Attribute Type: fish_totl
- Attribute Definition: Fish Total Length - Measured total length (cm) of the fish from mouth to tip fin. Mouth shut and fin pinched closed.
- Domain Range: 0.00-300.00;
-999 = NA
- Defines a person, place, or thing about which data can be stored
- Must be clearly understood before attributes can be named or defined
Data element (attribute) definitions:
- Describe the inherent nature of the data
- NOT the entity that the attribute contains information about
- NOT the uses of the data (where, when, how, or by whom)
- NOT the codes and values the codes represent
Example USGS Data Dictionaries