data dictionary

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data dictionary

[′dad·ə ‚dik·shə‚ner·ē]
(computer science)
A catalog which contains the names and structures of all data types.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

data dictionary

A data structure that stores meta-data, i.e. data about data. The term "data dictionary" has several uses.

Most generally it is a set of data descriptions that can be shared by several applications.

Usually it means a table in a database that stores the names, field types, length, and other characteristics of the fields in the database tables.

An active data dictionary is automatically updated as changes occur in the database. A passive data dictionary must be manually updated.

In a DBMS, this functionality is performed by the system catalog. The data dictionary is a more general software utility used by designers, users, and administrators for information resource management.

The data dictionary may maintain information on system hardware, software, documentation, users, and other aspects.

Data dictionaries are also used to document the database design process itself and can accumulate meta-data ready to feed into the system catalog.

This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

data dictionary

A database about data and databases. A data dictionary holds the name, type, range of values, source and authorization for access for each data element in the organization's files and databases. It also indicates which application programs use that data so that when a change in a data structure is contemplated, a list of affected programs can be generated.

The data dictionary may be a stand-alone system or an integral part of the DBMS. Data integrity and accuracy is better ensured in the latter case. See DBMS and data administration.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The PREMIS data dictionary and supporting schemas establish an international open source standard that's applicable to all kinds of resources to help institutions archive digital content and to keep the information that's necessary to access them over the long term.
The cluster containing "Data Flow Diagram," "Data Dictionary," and "Analysis--Entity" appears to be a cluster that affects software engineers' productivity in a very similar (and positive) way.
The new Data Dictionary Editor will allow non-technical users to easily define simple and complex data dictionary elements, maximizing efficiencies and reducing configuration workload, while offering greater control to the business.
MISMO mostly solved this issue by first defining all the data elements in a data dictionary and then ensuring they were consistent across the many documents.
Washington Publishing Company (WPC) has numerous reference documents pertaining to HIPAA including implementation guides, data conditions and the data dictionary for most X12N standards.
New data structures eliminate the need for data reloads if the data dictionary is changed, opening the option of substantial future additions to functions and features with limited technical impact as the new releases are sent to customers.
We will discuss some properties of 4GLs that are particularly relevant in library applications: integrated data dictionary; report generator; ease of use; run-time efficiency; a >;nd development and implementation.
- Studio now prompts you for a “previous version number” when it encounters fields in the data dictionary that no longer exist in the database when refreshing.
The second difference from previous efforts is the creation and maintenance of a data dictionary. This data dictionary, or Logical Data Dictionary (LDD), as it is known in MISMO, is the heart of everything that is done with data standards.
An appendix presents a performance and planning data dictionary. (Contains 14 tables and 2 figures.) (SLD)