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What is a Business Glossary?

By   /  January 24, 2018  /  No Comments

Business GlossaryA Business Glossary differs from a Data Dictionary in that its focal point, Data Governance, goes beyond a Data Warehouse or database. A Business Glossary is a means of sharing internal vocabulary within an organization. Most Business Glossaries share certain characteristics such as standard Data Definitions and documentation of them; Clear definitions with explanation of exceptions, synonyms, or variants, as well as:


  • Representative from core user groups required to give approval on terms.
  • Draft definitions and type breakouts from subject area models able to be supplied.

Other Definitions of a Business Glossary Include:

  • A framework to create, nurture, and promote a common vocabulary for an organization. (IBM)
  • A resource that defines terms across a business domain, providing an authoritative source for all business operations, including its Database Systems. (Michelle Knight, DATAVERSITY®)
  • “Authoritative definitions for institutional data related to clinical, administrative, research, and instructional activities.” (University of Rochester)
  • An application and “go-to system to govern … business terms.” (Collibra)
  • A compendium of business terms and definitions that have been approved by stakeholders and are maintained and governed. (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology)
  • A semantic foundation for Logical Data Warehouses and Business Analytics. (Gartner)

Businesses Use Business Glossaries to:

  • Enable understanding of the core business concepts and terminology.
  • Highlight how vocabulary may differ across business functions.
  • Increase trust in a company’s data.
  • Ensure agreement between the business-facing content and technical-facing physical data.
  • Reduce the risk that data will be misused due to inconsistent understanding of the business concepts.
  • Improve alignment between technological assets and the business organization.
  • Maximize search capability and enable access to documented institutional knowledge.


Photo Credit: arfa adam/Shutterstock.com

About the author

Michelle Knight enjoys putting her information specialist background to use by writing technical articles on enhancing Data Quality, lending to useful information. Michelle has written articles on W3C validator for SiteProNews, SEO competitive analysis for the SLA (Special Libraries Association), Search Engine alternatives to Google, for the Business Information Alert, and Introductions on the Semantic Web, HTML 5, and Agile, Seabourne INC LLC, through AboutUs.com. She has worked as a software tester, a researcher, and a librarian. She has over five years of experience, contracting as a quality assurance engineer at a variety of organizations including Intel, Cigna, and Umpqua Bank. During that time Michelle used HTML, XML, and SQL to verify software behavior through databases Michelle graduated, from Simmons College, with a Masters in Library and Information with an Outstanding Information Science Student Award from the ASIST (The American Society for Information Science and Technology) and has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Smith College. Michelle has a talent for digging into data, a natural eye for detail, and an abounding curiosity about finding and using data effectively.

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