Throughout the data lifecycle process, documentation must be updated to reflect actions taken upon the data. This includes acquisition, processing, and analysis, but may touch upon any stage of the lifecycle. Updated and complete metadata are critical to maintaining data quality.
Metadata describe information about data, including who, what, where, when, why, and how, so that they can be understood, re-used, and integrated with other data. Metadata records follow a standard format to enable interoperability.
A data dictionary is used to catalog and communicate the structure and content of data, and provides meaningful descriptions for individually named data objects.