Data Governance Kitchen
Episode 04: What is the difference between Data dictionary and business glossary?

Laurent Dresse, Data Governance Evangelist:

What is the difference between a data dictionary and a business glossary? This is indeed an important aspect of data management. And quite often there is a lot of confusion with these terms.

First of all, the data dictionary is the inventory of your technical landscape: databases, data lakes, file stores, and table columns. This is the I.T. vision of your organization and this part is usually managed and fed by APIs or connectors.

Then we have the business glossary, which is the documentation of your data assets but from an operational business perspective. It is totally decoupled from the I.T. perspective.
This module is based on expert or operational expert knowledge that is shared and documented within the business glossary. And these two elements are positioned under the umbrella of the data catalog.

The data catalog is one of the many data governance components or practices as described, for instance, in the DAMA wheel that you can find easily on the Internet.

So it’s a kind of cascading down the modules and the structure that you have.
Data governance.
Data governance has data cataloging or metadata management.
And in data cataloging, you have a data dictionary for the technical part and you have a business glossary for the functional part.

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