Data Dictionary

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Definition: Data Dictionary

A centralized repository of information about the basic organization of a database and data such as meaning, origin, usage, relationship with other data, and format is called a data dictionary. Basically, a data dictionary defines the structure of the database itself. It also refers to other description about databases or a collection of databases.  It does not contain any of the actual data from the database, but only data necessary for managing it.


Data dictionary essentially stores metadata - something that stores data about data.


A data dictionary is essentially of two types – active and passive

  • Active Data Dictionary is essentially that which updates itself in real time as changes are made to the database.
  • Passive Data Dictionary is a data dictionary which does not update itself with the changes. It is generally used by designers or administrators.

Some of the data stored by the data dictionary includes:

-  Name

-  Description

-  Frequency of use

-  Characteristics

-  Access rights


Hence, this concludes the definition of Data Dictionary along with its overview.

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