What Is a Business Glossary?

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Business Glossary

A 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 an explanation of exceptions, synonyms, or variants, as well as:

  • Representatives 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)
  • “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.

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