Skip to main content

Data Dictionary

  • Reference work entry
  • 270 Accesses

Synonyms

System catalog; Metadata repository

Definition

A data dictionary catalogs the definitions of data elements, data types, data flows and other conventions that are used in an information system. Data dictionaries have been widely adopted by both (i) the database community, where a dictionary typically describes database entities, schemas, permissions, etc.; and (ii) the software development community, where a dictionary typically describes flows of information through the system. In essence, a data dictionary is a virtual database of metadata about an information system itself. A data dictionary may also be referred to as a “system catalog.”

Key Points

Understanding and managing an information system – both from a design and from an implementation point-of-view – requires some documentation of the schema, capabilities, constraints, and other descriptive features of the system. This documentation is typically embodied by a data dictionary – that is, a repository of information...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-39940-9_903
  • Chapter length: 2 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   2,500.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-387-39940-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout

Recommended Reading

  1. Astrahan M. et al. (1979) System R: a relational data base management system. IEEE Comput. 12(5):42–48, 1979.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Demarco T. Structured Analysis and System Specification. Yourdon, 1978.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Elmasri R. and Navathe S. Fundamentals of database systems. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  4. MySQL MySQL 5.0 Reference Manual, 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Stonebraker M., Wong E., Kreps P., and Held G. The design and implementation of INGRES. ACM Trans. Database Syst., 1(3):189–222, 1976.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Yourdon E. Modern Structured Analysis. Yourdon, 1989.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Caverlee, J. (2009). Data Dictionary. In: LIU, L., ÖZSU, M.T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Database Systems. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-39940-9_903

Download citation