Definitions in information management – book review

Most people involved in the data management space would agree on the importance of having explicit and unambiguous definitions for key enterprise data assets – see previous blog – What do you mean?.

Sadly, this area is often overlooked and is one of the key contributors to data quality issues in many organisations.

Perhaps a reason for this, is that there is very little practical guidance on creating and managing definitions. The book – ‘Definitions in information management’* – by Malcolm Chisholm addresses this.

I first ‘scan read’ this book on my commute to work just under a year ago. I have recently been working on an enterprise conceptual model – creating/reviewing definitions – and have taken this opportunity to take a more detailed look at this book.

It follows the high standards set by Malcolm Chisholm in his previous books such as ‘Managing Reference Data in Enterprise Databases’ *

It contains 235 pages and is split into 17 chapters.

Key chapters include:

  • Justifying definition management.
  • Theory and history of definitions.
  • Definition types.
  • Producing high quality definitions.
  • Governance and management of definitions.

The last two chapters have proved particularly invaluable with my current work, as they provide a wealth of practical tips on creating and maintaining definitions.

All in all, a good book and one that I would recommend to anyone working in the data management space.

I will leave you with a quote from the book that particularly resonated with me – written by Ron Ross.

“Pay a little now, or pay a whole lot over time….Time and time again we find really big problems boiling down simply to what things really mean.”

* See Books and references for links to these books.


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