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Data Dictionary for existing system

By msschramm ·
I recently started in a newly created position. One of my position's duties is to create and maintain a searchable data dictionary for the SQL-based enterprise data system, which the organization desperately needs. I can't really find any record of how people have done any thing very like this before, though.

The EDS is a third-party built and maintained system, which includes updates 10 times a year. So, although the database doesn't undergo large changes, the dictionary will need to be up-datable without much hassle.

The data structure is a standard set up for the vendor's customers, and includes a number of modules that are deactivated in our instance. So we have dozens of empty tables that we don't want to capture, in addition to the thousands of fields we do want to track.

The vendor does provide us with what I consider to be the bare minimum of documentation, but we aren't allowed to publish it, share it, re-purpose any of it, or otherwise make it useful. And, perhaps best of all, the vendor does not include any metadata than the absolutely necessary fields.

I have established a list of metadata fields we want to use. We may be able to get a temp to enter everything into the database. We are not allowed to so much as mention the project to the vendor, much less negotiate them doing better with documentation.

I have tried every local resource, and mostly have told me what a PITA this is, and they're glad it. I think that's why it's assigned to me.

Has anyone done anything similar? Any thoughts or suggestions? Oh, and I have no budget, so the likelihood of dedicated software is tiny, at best.

TIA for anything you can offer.

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