Attributes should be grouped by the entity that they describe and should be defined somewhere. We recommend using this Attribute Metadata Template, but other options include defining them in a glossary or data dictionary.
Understanding the metadata associated with your attributes (data elements) is key for:
- Establishing a shared understanding of the meaning of your business data (definitions of terms)
- Helping elicit the rules around the data from the business (what does the data look like? Is it mandatory or optional? Is it unique? Are there valid values or ranges we need to adhere to?)
- Ensuring that data is broken down appropriately. For example, what data elements make up an address? Or a phone number? Or a name?
- Providing a great basis for a data architect to build out a physical data architecture.