DAMA International is a leading organization for data professionals and has recently announced a new strategic direction has been established to lead the data management discipline toward maturity.

One of the initiatives supporting this strategic direction is the establishment of Professional Groups for major subject areas in the data management discipline. The purpose of these groups is to identify the basic principles and best practices for data management and to develop the implicit body of knowledge for the data management discipline.

Each group will cover a specific subject area and will be international in scope. It will foster the free exchange if ideas and encourage synergy leading toward consensus within that subject area. The groups are vendor-neutral and there will be no marketing of products or services, and each group will have equal status in contributing to a formal data management discipline.

Each professional group will have an online discussion session which is lead by a moderator appointed by DAMA International. The moderator will guide and focus the discussions and will ensure an academic approach where the ideas presented have a solid foundation. They will capture the trends and results of the discussions and post them on the DAMA International Web site as well as lead group meetings at conferences and write or seek articles, journals and publications.

The results of the groups will go to the new DAMA International Foundation, which is the research and education affiliate of DAMA International. The results will be incorporated into an education curriculum for data management, a certification matrix for data management, standards and legislation pertaining to data management, and research into the business case for data management.

Initially the moderators will maintain the distribution lists and route the discussion e-mails. They will ensure that there is no marketing of products or services in the online discussions. When the new DAMA International Web site is fully operational, the discussion e-mails will be automatically distributed, and the distribution lists will eventually be tied to the new DAMA International member database.

The initial groups include: data architecture, data modeling, data quality, data stewardship, data warehouse, data lexicon, data repository, data integration, non-tabular data and data ethics. DAMA's Web site, www.dama.org, contains information about DAMA International, the newly formed DAMA International Foundation, the DAMA Chapters, the DAMA Professional Groups and many activities and events pertaining to data and information management.

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