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Definition: data administration

The analysis, classification and maintenance of an organization's data and data relationships. Data administration includes the development of data models and data dictionaries, which, combined with transaction volume, are the raw materials for database design.

Although data administration and database administration are separate functions, both are typically combined into one department and often performed by the same people. However, "data" administration deals with the modeling of the data and treats data as an organizational resource, while "database" administration deals with the implementation of the types of databases that are in use. The person who performs "data" administration functions is a "database analyst" or "data administrator," the latter being an earlier title for the job. The person who handles "database" administration, which is the technical design and management of the database, is the "database administrator."

Data Are Complex
The flow of data/information within a company is complex since the same data are viewed differently from one department to the other.

For example: When a customer places an order, the order becomes a commission for sales, a statistic for marketing, an order to keep track of in order processing, an effect on cash flow for financial officers, picking schedules for the warehouse, and production scheduling for manufacturing.

Users have different requirements for interrogating and updating data. Operations people need detail, management needs summaries. Database design must take this into consideration.