A few weeks ago, I referenced a piece that explained how to use a wiki and an ETL tool to manage metadata. I thought I was being clever when I titled it "Metadata Management, MacGyver-Style," and suggested all that was missing was a stick of gum.
Apparently, I seriously underestimated how many MacGyvers are out there, trying to cobble together a metadata management solution.
Recently, I discovered a thriving conversation thread on TDWI's LinkedIn discussion group about this very topic. Apparently, it's not that much of a rogue idea after all. In fact, a lot of people have posted about their own efforts to cobble together their own solutions from ETL tools, plus data quality tools, reporting tools, modeling tools and other items as needed. As Mark Williams, an IT and services professional based in Texas remarked:
"Which tool tracks the person to be notified, and their manager, for a problem? Which tool tracks the portfolio management? Which tool tracks future deliverables (data models, ETL, reports, etc.) to meet requirements that have not been fulfilled yet? My point is that all these tools provide part of the information, but not the entire picture of meta data."
This discussion is simply a must-read for any IT division considering metadata management. Not only does it cover issues you might not have considered-for instance, some tools only capture technical metadata, but what you may actually want to capture is business metadata. They also cover the difference between metadata and documentation, and discuss solutions offered by vendors such as SAP, Informatica and Microstrategy.
The best part is it's free to join the discussion. You will need a basic LinkedIn account, which is free, and then you'll need to apply to the TDWI group. I've linked to the post, but you may find, as I did, that you must search for and join the group before you can access it. Your membership will need to be approved, but as I said, it's free, and they seem to be pretty loose with the membership. After all, they let me in.
I was a bit skeptical when LinkedIn added groups, simply because there are already so many outlets for this type of discussion, but I've been pleasantly surprised. TDWI is particularly worth watching. It covers a broad range of data-related topics, from the technical to the strategic, and attracts a variety of participants, which is nice.
If you're interested in other integration-related LinkedIn groups, I also follow and recommend the
Service Oriented Architecture Special Interest Group, which is owned by Eric Roch, and the SOA Data Integration Architecture Group, which was founded by SOA blogger and CTO David Linthicum, and Informatica Product Marketing and Management Director Ash Parikh.