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0310 Glossary Model

A glossary is a collection of related semantic definitions. A semantic definition describes the meaning of something. This may be, for example, a concept, object or activity.

A metadata repository may contain many glossaries, particularly when it is part of a bigger enterprise cohort of repositories. Each glossary may come from a specific team or external organization. Or it may be focused on a particular topic or set of use cases.


The anchor for each glossary is the Glossary object.

The classifications associated with the glossary object are used to document the type of vocabulary it contains and its purpose:

  • Taxonomy - A Taxonomy is a glossary that has a formal structure. Typically, the terms have been organized into a category hierarchy that reflects their meaning or use. There may also be term relationships that also form part of the hierarchy. Taxonomies are often used to organize documents and other media in content repositories.
  • Canonical Vocabulary - this glossary provides the standard vocabulary definitions for an organization. Typically. terms from other glossaries are linked to terms from the canonical glossary.

These classifications are independent of one another so a Glossary object may have none, one or all of these classifications attached.

The ExternallySourcedGlossary relationship and ExternalGlossaryLink indicates that the content of this glossary comes from an external source. It may be, for example an industry-specific glossary, or from a standards body, or from an open data site, or from a commercial organization.

The ExternalGlossaryLink is a type of ExternalReference element that provides a detailed description of the location and provenance of the external glossary.

Further information