A data catalog is best described as a single interface that can store all of the data generated by a company. This concept was adopted by overwhelmed businesses that needed a transparent platform in which all departments can share and easily locate bits of information.
The digital form of a catalog was formed to keep up with the enormous amount of data that continuously has to be managed. Similarly to retail catalogs that we used to receive in the mail, a data catalog generates wider visibility and reveals a wider lens to your data.
Though the idea sounds like a sweet one, the creation and maintenance of a data catalog must be completed automatically as manual upkeep is not efficient. With that being said, in order to leverage, utilize, and access data efficiently, data catalogs should include the following information:
- Search function – What use is a data catalog if there is no search engine? This simple concept is an essential need to find exactly what you’re looking for.
- Business glossary – To ensure consistency between data values, it’s crucial to include a glossary with additional informational assets so all data users are on the same page.
- Data profiling – Assess data quality and quickly locate errors.
- Metadata registry – Users can create personalized fields and arrange the catalog by labels, values and fields, or in the way it best fits them.
Done right, a data catalog will ensure users understand their data landscape by sharing the same data and insights across a single, centralized warehouse.