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What is a Metabase?

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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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The ease with which we can gather information today, is unsurpassed. Technology has made finding needed information not only simpler, but also much quicker. We can find out at least some information about nearly any given subject, in a few moments, with just a few clicks, using our computers.

A metabase is an option for storing some of that information. If you are familiar with the term database, a metabase is very similar. In fact, the basic definition is nearly the same. The difference is that a metabase goes beyond a place to store data, and stores data that concerns other data. You may have heard the phrase “data about data,” used to describe a metabase. It’s not as complicated as it may seem, but makes sense given that a wide variety of data concerns other data.

For example, a website that collects information about computer vulnerabilities is convenient. A database filled with information about things that might harm your computer or violate your security is very useful. However, one that includes resources on how to prevent or repair such vulnerabilities is ultimately more useful. The latter is considered a metabase. It contains data — such as how to prevent, fix, or patch threats — about other data: the vulnerabilities.

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A metabase may also be used for many other types of data. Medical information, including not only symptoms, possible tests and treatments; but also the probable side effects of prescriptions or procedures, including drug interactions, is vastly more beneficial than a simple database of disease names. Keeping such information in a metadata repository so it is easily accessible to those who need it is not only expedient, but may also even save lives.

The most convenient aspect of a metabase is that it allows the user to many different types of data all in one place instead of having to search several different resources in order to gather the same information. As you can see, a metabase or repository for data about other data, is an important tool. It allows not only the collection but also the dissemination of information, from everyday items of interest to vital resources.

In the business setting, a metabase can be useful in a variety of ways. One can be used by employees to do their work more efficiently. Alternatively, a metabase may be the best option when used by clients, offering them the best possible experience when doing business with your company.

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