Cover image for Metadata solutions : using metamodels, repositories, XML, and enterprise portals to generate information on demand
Metadata solutions : using metamodels, repositories, XML, and enterprise portals to generate information on demand
Tannenbaum, Adrienne, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Addison-Wesley, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxv, 490 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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T58.5 .T37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A practical guide to metadata solutions, with examples showing the benefits and disadvantages of each. It covers the use of XML and XMI in metadata solutions. The case studies are taken from actual consulting experiences.

Author Notes

Adrienne Tannenbaum is President of Database Design Solutions, Inc. ( ), a highly respected database consulting firm whose clients include numerous Fortune 100 companies as well as federal and state agencies. An acknowledged expert in the field, she lectures internationally and delivers keynote addresses at many conferences. Adrienne's metadata seminars are recognized for their depth and quality of coverage. She is also the author of Implementing a Corporate Repository (Wiley, 1994).




I remember when data became a specialty in its own right. No longer viewed as simply being supportive of the processes within an organization, data became an asset that led to solid decision making and improved processes. Data, which sometimes had been collected in haphazard ways, in fact, became so valuable that people were trying to logically connect sporadic and isolated data. As the attempts to unify data were taking place, we all realized that its locations, characteristics, definitions, sources, and access were becoming equally important. Hence, the "birth" of metadata. Associating metadata solely with data does not do it justice. In fact, there are so many aspects to the world of information that metadata needs to embrace each and every one of them. Whether we realize it or not, metadata is already everywhere. All we are missing is an organized view of metadata, despite its origin. Today's world of information needs an associated metadata solution. Many of us have already learned that metadata is everywhere, but despite this discovery, we have created more of it, in more places. It is time to make an honest assessment of the metadata efforts and begin to focus on metadata as the gateway to all information. To do that we must understand what metadata really is, where it actually comes from, and how to expand its role in the world of automated intelligence. Few will debate the importance of metadata. It is time, then, for a book that tackles metadata in a way that will clearly lead the reader toward a metadata solution. Intended Audience If you have been given the task of managing your organization's information, this book is clearly for you. Likewise, if you are wondering why the data "dictionaries" or "repositories" that have been offered to you just don't seem to serve their intended roles, this book clearly explains what should have been accomplished. Because metadata is, potentially so broad, this book is meant to provide an excellent "backbone" for those who are charged with actually building a full metadata solution. The following are some of the individuals who will benefit the most from this approach. Chief information and/or technology officers who are responsible for assessing the metadata situation within their organizations with the objective of beginning a full, practical, metadata solution implementation process Business users who have experienced data inaccuracy, lack of available metadata, and a general inability to find the information they need Information technology project managers who are responsible for overseeing the design and development of any data-intense application. Examples include a data warehouse, integrated database, decision support application, customer relationship management application, reengineered series of legacy databases, and/or any type of project that requires an assessment of "what is," with the objective of planning a "to be" improvement. Data management professionals who are responsible for the administration, standardization, sharing, and organization of corporate data, especially those with previous experiences that resulted in unsuccessful repository or metadata solution implementations Developers, especially those who are faced with integrating or analyzing existing corporate applications Software vendors that are struggling with a need to supply standard metadata to product consumers while integrating their own software into a metadata accessible result Consulting professionals, particularly those who have faced implementation issues at client companies due to the lack of readily available and accurate metadata This book provides information and content that will enlighten all of these individual groups. The next section describes some aspects of the book that may appear to be quite technical. How This Book Is Organized Consider Metadata Solutions: Using Metamodels, Repositories, XML, and Enterprise Portals to Generate Information on Demand as the first book to address the metadata situation from the beginning through to a practical solution and then into its future maintenance and enhancement. As such, the book has been divided into six parts. Part I, Today's Information, prepares readers for the book's subsequent discussion of metadata. By looking at information in a way that many may never have considered, this part provides an overview of information and its many existing perspectives. Then, the information problems that have surfaced are discussed. Finally, this part reviews information solutions that have been tried, and for the most part are still in existence, and explains where they fell short. At the conclusion of Part I, the reader should be ready to discuss metadata. Many experienced information practitioners can skip this part, but even with information integration experience, some eyes may still be opened. Part II, Metadata as Part of the Solution, begins the discussion of metadata itself. First, a solid definition of today's buzzword focuses readers on how tunnel vision can even affect cross-application concepts such as metadata. The part begins the metadata requirements process. By stepping you through a methodology that first identifies metadata beneficiaries, determines metadata requirements, and then begins a categorization process, Part II gets the reader used to metamodels. Metadata stores--the physical storage locations for metadata--are also discussed, giving you various options as to how metamodels can be implemented. As a way of reminding the reader that metadata solutions are much more than the storage of metamodels, the metadata solution architecture is the last topic discussed in the part. Part III, Entering Meta-Meta Land, takes us inside the metadata solution. To deal with the fact that metadata is everywhere, a true metadata solution needs to be cognizant of the location and access requirements of existing metadata. In addition, metadata solutions all process and display their metadata differently based on the type of metadata. Designers and developers of true metadata solutions must be able to treat metadata with a software perspective. Part III focuses on what metadata means to a tool and discusses the meta-metamodel. Once this basic understanding is covered, metadata-based technologies, such as repositories, the Web, XML, and file management systems, are all discussed. Some aspects of the part may be too technical for the casual reader, but the chapters do clearly explain the internals of metadata solution technology. Part IV, Beginning the Metadata Solution Process, discusses implementation-specific aspects, other than the metadata and its associated metamodels. Nontechnical factors, such as readiness, scoping, and internal environment changes, are addressed at the beginning of this part. The discussion then moves to technical factors--multitool architecture, metadata update and exchange, metadata presentation. A chapter is dedicated to metadata solution technical support, specifically metadata and repository administration. Part IV ends with advice on determining the right solution. Part V, Sample Metadata Solutions, begins with a case study--A Typical Metadata Disaster--that equates to a very common metadata situation within corporate America. Succeeding chapters illustrate actual metadata solution implementations that are all focused on solving the identified disaster. Illustrated solutions (often including actual program code, metamodels, and architectural diagrams) include a centralized repository, an integrated repository architecture, an information directory, metadata-interexchange using XML, a standalone metadata store, and an enterprise portal. Although some aspects of this part are quite technical, I strongly urge all readers to at least browse the various solutions. Part VI, Maintaining the Metadata Solution, describes how the metadata solution stays alive. One way is by ensuring that it meets the requirements of its targeted beneficiaries. This final part discusses the organizational responsibilities that go along with such a task; it also focuses on how to ensure the livelihood of the metadata itself by discussing metadata quality. The book closes by pointing out where metadata meets the business strategy, now and into the future. Reading Paths Implementing a metadata solution involves a variety of skills, from business analysis all the way through to technical application and interface development. As such, the chapters in this book range in terms of primary audience and interest level. Those chapters that are geared purely to those responsible for hands-on metadata solution delivery because they contain sample code or metadata solution internals have been labeled Technical at the upper right corner of the first page in each chapter. To accommodate the different backgrounds of this book's readers, I have set up the following reader categories and noted the chapters that will be of interest. Information systems management people who need to be aware of the intricacies of metadata solutions, but have not planned to have any hands-on involvement: − Part 1 - all chapters − Part 2 - all chapters − Part 3 - Chapters 15 and 16 − Part 4 - all chapters − Part 5 - Chapters 21, 24, and 25 − Part 6 - all chapters Business users who crave a well-implemented metadata solution − Part 1 - all chapters − Part 2 - Chapters 7, 8, and 9 − Part 3 - Chapters 15 and 16 − Part 4 - Chapters 17 and 20 − Part 5 - Chapter 21 − Part 6 - all chapters Technical analysts, and developers who are familiar with database technology − Part 1 - Chapters 1, 2, and 6 − Part 2 - all chapters − Part 3 - all chapters − Part 4 - all chapters − Part 5 - all chapters − Part 6 - all chapters Data management professionals who are familiar with metadata and its current treatment − Part 1 - Chapters 1, 4, 5, and 6 − Part 2 - all chapters − Part 3 - Chapter 12, 14, 15, and 16 − Part 4 - all chapters − Part 5 - all chapters − Part 6 - all chapters Model Legend Throughout the book, various models are used to illustrate metadata relationships, metamodels, and metadata flows. Because, unfortunately, there really is no uniform way of depicting models these days, a figure that shows the various symbols you will see in this book will be printed on the inside cover. Most of the illustrations in this book follow my default modeling characteristics, at the top of the figure. However, because other illustrations and models have been brought in from other sources, it is important to understand their notations, as depicted. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is the standard followed by the Object Management Group (OMG). What Is Your Objective? As you read this book, you should be correlating the described metadata situations with those of your own. Actual case studies, submitted by large organizations that have lived through metadata-related situations, are used throughout the book. You should consider how a renewed metadata perspective, like the one discussed throughout this book, can revitalize the metadata that exists at your organization. Readers should expect to gain enough knowledge to move forward on a hands-on metadata solution implementation of any scope. 0201719762P04172001 Excerpted from Metadata Solutions: Using Metamodels, Repositories, XML, and Enterprise Portals to Generate Information on Demand by Adrienne Tannenbaum All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Ray McGlewChristina TomRachel BrowsteinDaniel Hayes and Ho-Chun Ho
Forewordp. xv
Prefacep. xvii
Intended Audiencep. xvii
How This Book Is Organizedp. xviii
Reading Pathsp. xx
Model Legendp. xxi
What Is Your Objective?p. xxii
Acknowledgmentsp. xxiii
About the Authorp. xxv
Part I Today's Informationp. 1
Chapter 1 The Business Is Informationp. 3
Information Definedp. 4
Evolution of Informationp. 7
The Role of Informationp. 10
Information Tunnelsp. 14
Chapter 2 The Information in Today's Organizationp. 15
Information in Practicep. 15
Information Sharing and Redundancyp. 25
Supporting Intraorganization Informationp. 28
Chapter 3 Information Outside the Organizationp. 31
That Famous Downloadp. 31
The Data Vendorsp. 33
Information Exchangep. 37
Chapter 4 Integrating Our Data: Where the Repairs of the 1990s Broke Downp. 41
Data Modeling: Does Anyone Remember What It Is?p. 41
The Data Management Organizationp. 46
Case Study: A Data Management Reintroductionp. 47
Data Warehousingp. 49
Introducing "Objects"p. 51
Is Our Information Integrated?p. 53
Chapter 5 Indentifying Information: The Directories of the 1990sp. 55
Off-the-Shelf Repositoriesp. 55
Standalone Metadata Storesp. 59
Internal Directoriesp. 63
Case Study: Internal Directory Implementation in an Insurance Companyp. 65
Internal Web-Based Data Managementp. 71
Case Study: Using the Intranet to Provide Metadata Access at a Pharmaceutical Companyp. 73
Chapter 6 A Disaster Crying for Solutionsp. 75
Anarchical Data Managementp. 75
The Data Warehouse Webp. 78
Tools, Tools, and More Toolsp. 80
Metadata: The Silver Bulletp. 82
Part II Metadata as Part of the Solutionp. 85
Chapter 7 Moving from Information to Metadatap. 87
Comparing Information to Knowledgep. 88
Defining Metadatap. 90
Relating Information to Metadatap. 93
Metadata Perspectives and Beneficiariesp. 95
Chapter 8 Identifying Metadata Requirementsp. 99
The Overall Metadata Requirements Processp. 100
Identifying Metadata Beneficiariesp. 101
Metadata by Beneficiaryp. 106
Metadata Sourcingp. 108
Chapter 9 Organizing Metadata Requirementsp. 115
Beginning the Architectural Planning Processp. 116
Identifying the Metadata of Recordp. 124
Categorizing Metadatap. 127
Looking toward Metamodelsp. 134
Chapter 10 Introducing Metamodelsp. 135
Moving from Metadata to Metamodelsp. 135
Defining the Metamodelp. 145
Vendor versus Custom Metamodelsp. 153
Metamodel Extensibilityp. 155
Chapter 11 Metamodels as a Piece of the Piep. 157
Defining the Metadata Solutionp. 157
Remembering the Objectivep. 158
Storing Metadatap. 159
Accessing Metadatap. 166
Metamodel and Metadata Relationshipsp. 169
Sample Metamodelsp. 170
Part III Entering Meta-Meta Landp. 175
Chapter 12 Meta-Metadata: What Metadata Means to a Toolp. 177
The Tool's View of Metadatap. 177
Meta-Metadatap. 179
Storing Meta-Metadatap. 184
Processing Meta-Metadatap. 187
Chapter 13 The Meta-Metamodelp. 189
Organizing Metamodelsp. 190
Inside Meta-Meta Landp. 195
The Information Connectionp. 203
Chapter 14 Introducing Repositoriesp. 207
Repositories Definedp. 207
The Generic Repository Architecturep. 209
Essential Repository Characteristicsp. 211
Old versus New Repository Technologyp. 213
The Quasi Repositoryp. 216
Custom-Built Repositoriesp. 217
Repository Examplesp. 217
Chapter 15 Other Metadata-Based Technologiesp. 219
The Webp. 220
File Management Systemsp. 228
Database Management Systemsp. 230
Object-Oriented Component Librariesp. 231
Metadata Everywhere?p. 232
Chapter 16 The Impact of Standardsp. 233
Internal Standardsp. 233
External Standardsp. 236
Is Anyone Really Following Them?p. 253
Part IV Beginning the Metadata Solution Processp. 257
Chapter 17 The Non-Metadata Factors--Group I: The Nontechnical Environmentp. 259
Redefining Metadata Solutionp. 259
Determining Readinessp. 260
Scoping the Metadata Solutionp. 266
The Solution's Impact on the Internal Environmentsp. 271
Case Study: Non-Metadata Factors at a Chemical Companyp. 276
Chapter 18 The Non-Metadata Factors--Group II: The Technical Environmentp. 281
Revisiting the Multitool Architecturep. 281
Determining Tool and Metadata Connectionsp. 286
Presenting the Metadatap. 296
Sharing the Metadatap. 302
Reusing the Metadatap. 308
Incorporating External Beneficiaries and Suppliersp. 309
Chapter 19 The Non-Metadata Factors--Group III: Technical Supportp. 311
Administrationp. 311
Organizational Responsibilitiesp. 316
Staffing Requirementsp. 317
Organization Chartsp. 318
Chapter 20 Determining the Right Solutionp. 325
No Metadata Stores, One Metadata Store, or Many?p. 326
Standard or Customized Metamodelsp. 337
Including or Excluding the Internetp. 340
Buy, Build, or Both?p. 341
Case Study: Choosing XML as the Solutionp. 343
Part V Sample Metadata Solutionsp. 347
Chapter 21 A Typical Metadata Disasterp. 349
Tools, Tools, and More Tools--Case Study Beginsp. 350
Objectives, Objectives, and More Objectivesp. 351
Metadata, Metadata, and More Metadatap. 353
Chapter 22 Metadata Solution 1: The Centralized Metadata Repositoryp. 363
The Interaction of Basic Repository Componentsp. 364
Repository-Based Processesp. 369
Chapter 23 Metadata Solution 2: An Integrated Architecturep. 373
Metadata Solution Scopep. 373
The Common Metamodelp. 374
The Metadata Solution Architecturep. 376
Using the Metadata Solutionp. 380
Maintaining the Metadata Solutionp. 380
Chapter 24 Metadata Solution 3: The Information Directoryp. 383
Information Directory versus Enterprise Portalp. 383
The Directory Metamodelp. 384
Populating the Directoryp. 384
Directory Accessp. 389
Chapter 25 Metadata Solution 4: Metadata Interexchangep. 391
A Common Metamodelp. 392
Standardizing Metadata Valuesp. 393
Scoping the Metadata and Tools Architecturep. 396
Metadata Source/Target Interface and Translationp. 397
Chapter 26 Metadata Solution 5: A Standalone Metadata Storep. 405
Defining the Limited Scopep. 405
Designing the Metamodelp. 406
Populating the Metamodelp. 408
Preparing the Metadata Accessibilityp. 409
Maintaining the Metadatap. 412
Chapter 27 Metadata Solution 6: Building an Enterprise Portalp. 413
Product Architecturep. 413
The Portal Metamodelp. 416
Applying a Portal to the Typical Metadata Disasterp. 417
Part VI Maintaining the Metadata Solutionp. 423
Chapter 28 Metadata Responsibilitiesp. 425
IT and End Users' Responsibilitiesp. 425
Suggested Organizational Structuresp. 434
Chapter 29 Ensuring Metadata's Livelihoodp. 439
Adding the Functionality and Contents of Additional Metadata Storesp. 440
Keeping the Architecture in Placep. 444
Phased Implementationp. 447
Revising IT Processesp. 448
Chapter 30 Metadata Is No Longer a Runner Upp. 451
Current Tasks to Ensure an Organization's Metadata Readinessp. 451
Short-Term Metadata Objectivesp. 453
Long-Term Metadata-Based Goalsp. 453
Business Strategy and IT Collaborationp. 455
If Not Now, When?p. 456
Appendix A Glossaryp. 457
Appendix B Additional Readingsp. 467
Indexp. 471