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Overview of Glossaries

A glossary is collection of terms in a particular domain (i.e., field or subject) of knowledge with the definitions for those terms. Unlike dictionaries, which are more general collections of words, glossaries only concern themselves with terms that will enhance one's comprehension of a certain topic. Glossary terms are often highly specific to a particular business subject or area of operation. They could be thought of as a 'jargon'. Just about any business activity and organization you can think of has its own jargon to go with it - from professional disciplines to operational activities.

A business glossary goes beyond just a list of terms. Linking terms to IT assets establishes a connection between business and IT and enhances organizational collaboration. Glossary lets you create and manage a common vocabulary of terms important to your organization to ensure clear communication and improve productivity. These terms can be categorized in a way that is relevant to your organization. Multiple glossaries can be developed, interlinked, searched and explored. Valid definitions of values and business rules can then be managed and made available across the organization. 

Glossary terms can be a 'flat' alphabetical list or they can be organized into hierarchies. In TopBraid EDG, the primary user interface (UI) for viewing and editing glossary terms looks like a spreadsheet. When working with glossaries, users can also switch into a hierarchical view and pick any defined relationship between terms to present them as a taxonomical tree. TopBraid EDG also supports a category of vocabularies that are called "taxonomies". Depending on your licensing, you may see this category of asset collections in your installation of EDG and, as a result, may wonder about the difference between glossaries and taxonomies and when to use each - especially, if your terms are organized hierarchically. Unlike glossaries, taxonomies always assume that terms are organized and presented as hierarchies and that the hierarchical relationship between them is "broader concept" which is defined by the SKOS standard. SKOS doesn't use the word "term" that is common to business glossaries. Instead, it uses the word "concept".

Even more importantly, glossaries are designed to improve understanding of data’s context and usage. Glossary terms not only have descriptions of their meaning, but they also define business context of use and can be linked to the underlying technical metadata to provide a direct association between business terms and data sources and data elements. In TopBraid EDG, glossary terms include description of business rules and permissible values - both, in plain English as well as in structured, executable rules that are used to automate connections between data elements and business terms. They may also connect to reference datasets and enumerations that hold lists of values specific to a given term such as "customer status".

Taxonomies, on the other hand, describe some domain of knowledge in general. They are often focused on providing a rich set of synonyms that are used in search, text mining and document classification.

Main Classes of a Glossary

SuperclassClassDescription
 Glossary Term Business term

Business terms are a subcategory of glossary terms. Business terms are related to business, for example, words and phrases about human resources, finance or business operations. Some business terms and their meaning are very specific or unique to a given organization or a department within an organization. For example, a term ‘high value customer’ may be defined differently by two different organizations.

  Industry term

Industry terms are a subcategory of glossary terms. Industry terms represent industry terminology that tends to be common across all or most businesses operating in a specific industry. Industry terms often come from standards bodies, consortiums and organizations external to a business.

 Technical term 

Technical terms are a subcategory of glossary terms. Technical terms are typically related to technologies and may be connected to or used to describe organization's technical assets.

Licensing

The availability of different collection types, including Glossaries and customer-defined types, is determined by what you have licensed and configured. The TopQuadrant website describes the TopBraid products and the  data governance packages that determine which collection types are available.

Glossaries Home

Selecting the Glossaries link in the left-navigation pane of TopBraid EDG (Home) lists all of the Glossary collections currently accessible to the user and, it allows authorized users to create new ones.

Create New Glossary

The Glossaries > Create New Glossary link opens a form with fields used to define the new Glossary. Note that you can also create a Glossary by using a Create link in the Governance Areas page. 

Nobody will have a link for creating any asset collection until an administrator configures EDG's persistence technology as documented in EDG Administration: Configuring the application data storage . Additionally, each user will not have a create link unless the user or their role has a Create permission for the EDG Repositories project as documented in  EDG Permission Group Management: Configure Permissions .

Note: Required and Permitted Includes

Collections often have natural relationships to other collections, e.g., a Reference Dataset references an Ontology class as its main entity. In order to do this, collection with resources to be referenced needs to be included. Some inclusions might be required while others might merely be permitted. For example, Taxonomies always include SKOS ontology and can include other taxonomies. A Reference Dataset is always required to include at least one Ontology as it is needed to define the entities in the dataset. Glossaries with always include pre-defined EDG ontology that describes business glossary terms. Catalogs of Data Assets will always include pre-defined EDG ontology describing data assets and are expected to include definitions of relevant physical Datatypes. These requirements can be further configured.

When creating a collection, any required reference to another type of collection will either be handled automatically or be presented for selection. If any required inclusion is omitted at its creation, then the resulting collection will show red warnings about the missing relationship(s). After creation, included collections can be changed using utilities view: Settings > Includes. When changing collection's includes, selection options are restricted to required and permitted types.

Creation Form

The Create dialog box asks for the Glossary's Label (name), its Default namespace and, optionally, a Description. The default namespace will be used to construct URIs (unique identifiers) for the resources in the Glossary. EDG will automatically pre-populate the default namespace based on the system-wide, configurable settings. Creator can change it. Recommended practice for all collection types is to use a '/' (slash) at the end of the default namespace. For ontologies, it is typical to use '#' (pound sign). However, '/' can be used as well. 

Creator is automatically granted Manager's permission for the new Glossary. When Glossary creation starts from the Governance Areas page, new Glossary is automatically associated with the selected area. When Glossary creation starts from the Glossaries home page, new Glossary is not connected to any governance area. To change this after creation, update in utilities: Settings > Metadata > Edit > subject area

Create New Glossary

This creates a new Glossary with yourself as the manager.

Listing of Glossaries by Manage, Edit, or View

This home view lists all Glossaries that you can access in some way. Which ones you can see and what you can do with them depend on each Glossary's permissions settings for your user identity or security role. The listing groups the Glossaries according to your assigned permissions as either a manager, an editor, or a viewer:

  • Glossaries that you manage
  • Glossaries that you can edit
  • Glossaries that you can view

You will only see relevant categories. For example, if you do not have manager permissions to any Glossaries, you will only see "Glossaries that you can edit" and "Glossaries that you can view" groupings.

This page provides a focused, permission level oriented view on Glossaries. To see a view of all asset collections, irrespective of their type, that you have a governance role for click on your User Name in the upper right conner of the page.

If a Glossary is either missing or it is lacking expected features in your views, you or your security role(s) may lack proper permissions for the Glossary. A manager of the Glossary can give you the needed permissions via its Glossary Utilities > User Roles settings. For background information, see Asset Collection Permissions: Viewer, Editor, and Manager.

Another possible cause of a missing feature is that it requires administrative setup to become active. See EDG Administration for relevant within-application settings and/or see other EDG Administrator Guide documents for relevant external installation and integration setup.

A Glossary's Operations and Viewer/Editor Views

Each Glossary has two main views:

  1. utilities, from the name link, provides groups of collection-level functions, and
  2. viewer/editor (depending on user permissions), from the View/Edit link, provides direct access to the Glossary content items (e.g., instances, properties, classes, etc.).

These views are documented in the corresponding Glossary Operations and Glossary View or Edit pages.

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