What does the word transparency mean within the data management profession? Transparency is the degree to which your organization communicates to your producers and consumers of data management information. It's easy to declare that you are open when in reality you are not. You are not open because you protect the very essence of your existence through various means of command and control. Take the simplest example - metadata. For years, I have heard from data professionals that metadata is a database technology and not to be used by other technology groups. Metadata is data about data and nothing else. You cannot use metadata to describe Web pages, services or systems. Why? Not because there isn't a tremendous amount of value in the metadata, but rather, because data professionals are the only ones with the expertise. Of course, that's unfair. Or is it?

One of the main benefits of transparency is accountability and the inability to hide behind a process or technology. We want to have public discussions and share knowledge about the data environment, not close it down and protect it. We are addicted to email, which is a one-to-one communication medium, and repository applications, which are one-to-many communications. The data model is a one-to-many communication medium, although in most companies it's more like one-to-few. These are legacy type communication media that must be transformed within the next few years.

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