Surfing the Data: Using the World Wide Web to Make Every Data Warehouse Client a Data Expert


As data warehouses greatly simplify data access, the people directly using the data expand far beyond the traditional "data reporting experts." These new data users need to learn about the data, and they need an authoritative source for information about the data and its proper use.Metadata (data about data) need to be:Easily accessible from each user's PC, without interrupting tasks in progressPresented in the user's own terminologyComplete enough to answer the majority of data questionsLinked so well that both novice and experienced users can quickly find what they needHolding metadata centrally makes it easy to maintain, ensuring that everyone sees the same current information. The hypertext capabilities of the web allow users to hot-key from indices to definitions to illustrations. This paper illustrates Purdue University's metadata structure, the data within that structure, and how source data are stored to optimize usability and maintainability.

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