Author's Note: This column is adapted from the book Universal Meta Data Models by David Marco and Michael Jennings (John Wiley & Sons).

Several years ago, I wrote an article about a generic meta data repository model for use in the business intelligence environment. This model was different because it attempted to illustrate an area of the data warehouse environment seldom focused on at the time. It highlighted the central area of all processing in the business intelligence environment, but it was limited in its scope. The generic meta data repository model focused solely on the meta data, the context of the content, of the data warehouse. While this was an important area, it neglected the other areas of meta data collection and usage throughout the entire enterprise. The complete meta data model attempts to go beyond the earlier meta data model by providing a more holistic view of the entire enterprise environment. Like the generic meta model, the complete meta data model is not only useful for a specific business function or vertical industry; it can be utilized across any type of business because the model's purpose is to capture and store meta data (data about data).

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