RE: tools for developing a "data dictionary"?

Subject: RE: tools for developing a "data dictionary"?
From: "Bill Swallow" <wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2004 21:51:00 -0400

Google for "define:data dictionary" and you get:

Now you know what a data dictionary is.

::: Our usability specialist wants recommendations on how to
::: design/build
::: something that SHE calls a "data dictionary" but *sounds*
::: like a plain old
::: thesaurus or glossary. She wants to develop a commercial
::: product that we
::: can give to our users -- this product will have our
::: industry-specific
::: terminology (we work in the utilities industry), and we
::: will be able to give
::: it to our users so they have a common
::: terminology/understanding of our
::: terms/usage and can look up information on a specific term.
::: For lack of a
::: better word, my co-worker is calling this a "data
::: dictionary." She has also
::: used the word, "meta-data."

Your "usability specialist" is a moron. What she wants to do is what you
think she wants to do: create a glossary. It is not a "data dictionary", and
certainly is not "meta-data".

::: At first, my thought was to simply plug terminology into a
::: RoboHelp file &
::: then people could use it for definitions/searching on
::: terms, etc. But that
::: doesn't seem to be what my usability specialist wants. It
::: sounds like she
::: wants something a bit more robust, but she doesn't quite
::: know how to
::: describe what that is.

If she can't describe it then she doesn't know what she wants. A "usability
specialist" should KNOW what to deliver to satisfy a customer's needs, and
they should certainly be able to put ideas into words.

::: We are playing the "bring me a rock" game right now,
::: so I'm writing all of my esteemed colleagues for info/advice.

Bring her the rock. A nice big one. Drop it on her head.

::: I ran across something called "TermChoir" but I'm not sure
::: its what I'm looking for. Any thoughts?

Talk to the usability specialist and tell her that since you have NO IDEA
what she's looking for, you'll need a DETAILED SPECIFICATION from her in
order to build the right thing. Otherwise you're wasting time that could be
best spent doing other things. If she balks, stand firm, and let your
manager know what's going on. Be willing to help, and indicate such, but
kindly explain that you need to know what you're building before you can
build it, otherwise you're costing the company time and money.

Bill Swallow
wswallow "at" nycap "dot" rr "dot" com



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tools for developing a "data dictionary"?: From: stacy naus

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