Users of scientific databases need descriptional information for understanding the definitions, abbreviations, acronyms, and genealogy of data stored and maintained in a database management system (DBMS). This type of knowledge or metadata includes a wide range of information to help users locate, access, browse, clean, and aggregate databases. In this paper, the authors describe the RAND Metadata Management System (RMMS), which is the result of a project to develop and implement specifications for storing and maintaining descriptional metadata. RMMS promotes the sharing, reuse, and interoperability of scientific data by improving five major DBMS data administration activities: documentation, version management, history management, derived databases, and standard data elements. The authors discuss the motivation for the development of RMMS, the functionality of RMMS, and its implementation architecture.
Originally published in: Journal of Database Management, v. 5, no. 2, Spring 1994, pp. 30-40.
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