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Real Definitions versus Nominal Definitions in Data Management

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We frequently speak of definitions in data management,but THEyare often taken for granted. In particular, it seems that everyone knows what a definition is and that everyone assumes producing definitions is easy. Nobody stops to ask what exactly a definition is and if there are any particular considerations about formulating definitions. Perhaps this is because the educational system in the U.S. focuses on learning definitions by rote for the SATs. More likely it is because we are heavily conditioned by our exposure to definitions as they appear in dictionaries, which may be why we find data dictionaries in many enterprises. It also seems to be why definitions in data models resemble dictionary definitions - one-sentence tautologies composed of synonyms. Indeed, the dictionary model of definition rules supreme in data management.

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