Select Page
A laptop with code, representing the importance of database documentation.

Database documentation plays a vital role in data management. In a digital world, organizations rely heavily on numerous kinds of data to function and perform their tasks. Knowing how to effectively manage a high volume of information makes it easier to oversee business operations. Businesses use databases for this purpose, as they can store and organize such information. However, organizations often do not consistently maintain their databases. Therefore, they have issues storing, searching, and retrieving valuable data when they need information. That is where database documentation comes into play. It keeps important data secure and recorded so that it can be located and used when needed.

What is Database Documentation?

In essence, database documents are descriptions of metadata–that is, your organization’s metadata. More specifically, database documentation describes aspects of the data such as the types of data contained, keywords, and the connections between the data; these documents often take the form of data catalogs or data dictionaries. These are necessary to store, retrieve, revise, and manage a company’s database, since it may contain different kinds of information.

However, depending on your business data, it may include anything from product inventory to customer information, sales, and more. With the right database documentation tools, you can store data in JSON, XML, or BSON. These formats offer different ways of storing data and each has its own specialty when it comes to doing so. This makes it easier to change the database structure to fit the organization’s needs as it changes and grows.

How Does Database Documentation Help?

Database Navigation

Database documentation provides a way of ensuring that data is secured and able to be found and maintained when needed. It makes instances of data easier to identify and locate by describing their major traits. In addition, such documentation puts the metadata into a form that can be more easily translated and understood. It describes what the data actually means, the situation in which the data would be used, and the structure of the data.

This means that even if the workers who made the database are not available, other workers will still be able to understand how to use it and find needed data. This also helps with training new workers to use the database. This is very important because while the metadata is useful on its own in some ways, it would not have much meaning to most people without being explained.

In addition, database documents can help workers learn how to use and navigate the database. By organizing data and calling attention to how instances of data are connected, workers can get a better idea of how the database is structured and where to find particular instances of data. In this way, database documents can act as a combination of a map and an instruction manual.

Businesses use database documentation to keep track of information about a variety of data, such as books, profile information, and catalogs. For other types of databases, keeping track of these different kinds of data would be difficult. However, database documentation uses several programs and formats that can store different kinds of data. When used together, this allows a database to store and document multiple different types of data.

Business Intelligence

Database documents also help businesses with business intelligence. Business intelligence involves studying data and using the findings gathered from it to decide what course of action a business should take. Because business intelligence involves data management, collection, and analysis, database documentation plays an important part in this process. Through directly organizing data, translating it to be easier to understand, and making it easy to locate, database documentation can help businesses get the information they need in order to make good decisions in regard to business intelligence.

Network servers, representing the importance of database documentation.

How Do You Create Database Documents?

Before making database documentation, standards need to be set to establish the specific way the data will be documented. These standards will determine how elements in the database are named, how the data can be accessed, and how the data is used. These standards help to make sure the documents are more organized and effective. A uniform way of writing also makes documents able to be understood and used by people other than the writers. In addition, an archive for the document to be stored in should also be chosen ahead of time.

The actual process of creating database documentation starts by figuring out what metadata needs to be added. After that, the next step is to create a data model. This can be done by using a database documentation tool, such as ApexSQL Doc or DTM Schema Reporter. Next, create the document itself, and finally, document and describe the metadata. All data contained in tables, diagrams, or columns should be clearly explained. This includes the context for the data, the data’s structure, its creator, how the data was gathered, an identifier for the data, the relationship between different sets of data, etc.

Who Can Help With Database Documents?

Several different types of workers work together to develop database documentation, including database administrators, business analysts, and technical writers. Database administrators find the metadata and determine how to organize it. Meanwhile, technical writers do the work of writing the actual database documents and translating the information to be more easily understood by others. Finally, business analysts contribute to the writing process alongside technical writers and give insight into how the documentation can aid the business. Documentation specialists might also help with creating database documentation. These specialists help with the process by writing instructions and training manuals on how to use the databases. They might also help to maintain data and keep it up-to-date.

In order to develop effective database documentation, all of these kinds of workers need to work together and fulfill their tasks. Therefore, they have to consider each other’s tasks and what kind of information or data each of them will need access to and coordinate their efforts to make sure that their individual work fits together to create the full document. This in turn means that a business should make sure their documentation workers can work well together.


Overall, database documentation is of great importance when doing data management. It allows businesses to create a system they can use to easily sort, store, and find data. Furthermore, such documentation provides both a source of information on the subject in question and a way for all employees to reliably make use of that information. In this way, they can better understand how the database and the data in it can benefit the company or organization. Therefore, businesses and organizations should make every effort to create effective database documentation.

How Can Essential Data Help?

Essential Data can provide your business with the aid of skilled technical writers who will create effective and understandable documentation. These writers have the knowledge and skills needed to write documents for a number of different subjects. They can help a business or organization find the best way to organize, store, and document its data.

Whether you need a single technical writer for a brief project or a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation, the quality of our work is guaranteed for you. Our clients work closely with an Engagement Manager from one of our 30 local offices for the entire length of your project at no additional cost. Contact us at (800) 221-0093 or to get started.

Written by Kimberly Jones