Data documentation ensures that data is understandable and interpretable by any consumer. It should describe how the data was created, the context for the data, the structure of the data and its contents, and any alterations done to the data. Technical and non-technical teams are often perplexed as to what a given field or piece of data means. Along with the data, how the data has been used must also be carefully documented. Organizations have been utilizing databases and datasets for decades, but documentation is still one of the most undervalued and neglected aspects of the work, leading to maintenance concerns.
How often do you think someone uses data incorrectly because of a lack of documentation?
In this article, we will cover five different tools for documenting data and discuss the pros and cons of each.
1. Microsoft Word
One of the traditional ways of documentation is using Microsoft Word. MS Word is a word processor developed by Microsoft. It has advanced features which allow to format and edit files and documents in the best possible way. It allows the users to create, edit and format documents.
- Flexibility to use various features and techniques to make a text document interactive.
- Graphical documents that include images.
- Easy to set up
- Challenging to collaborate and share.
- Compatibility issue across the different OS.
- Not available freely.
- Not always intuitive.
2. Google Docs
Google Docs is a word processor that is hosted in the cloud and was created by Google. Its features and interface are highly similar to MS Word with additional features. Add-ons can also be used to integrate third-party features into Docs. Because it is cloud-based, users may collaborate, make comments, and access Docs from any device at any time. All you need is a web browser to get started.
- No need to install Docs on your computer.
- Works on any internet-connected device.
- Automatically save to Google Drive.
- Losing your internet connection is you losing access to Docs.
- Weak presentation program.
- It cannot have more than 1,024,000 characters.
- Does not connect directly to the database
dbdocs.io is a free and straightforward tool for creating web-based database documentation. It is the lightest and does not necessitate a complicated setup. It assists us in converting the high-level structure to precise table metadata and seamlessly integrating it with your CI/CD.
- Data overview and individual tables can be visualized.
- Simple to incorporate into the workflow.
- Requires only a code editor and a CLI tool to generate the document.
- Certain functionality, such as deep editing capability, is missing.
- There is no capability of collaborative editing.
- Documents cannot be exported.
- Tribal data knowledge is not documented
ApexSQL is a tool for creating documents that are easier to access and share. ApexSQL is a robust tool for SQL documentation as well as SSIS, SSAS, SSRS, and Tableau. Users can also export documents in CHM, HTML, Word, MD, and PDF formats. Like dbdocs, it also provides graphical relationships and data model diagrams.
- Advanced customization capability.
- Documentation can be easily automated and scheduled.
- Only Windows users are supported.
- It is complex to learn and use all of its features.
As the world of data evolves, we are obliged to transition from old databases to the more convenient BigData. These days, it is increasingly usual to see more unstructured data, such as images, used for computer vision and deep learning tasks. This makes documentation more difficult. Datalogz is an online platform that provides a zero-cost solution for data science and analytics teams to organize data without costly IT procedures. This application can be utilized immediately without any fuss, which aids in comprehending data faster, generating new insights, and, most importantly, documenting data in a modern style rather than a standard spreadsheet or word document. Datalogz connects directly to your databases and dashboards and provides a collaborative documentation environment.
- Datalogz securely connects to your actual data, allowing for automatic document updating.
- Complete control over who can read, write, or do both with documentation.
- Datalogz documents not only dataset metadata but also any work associated with a dataset, such as important BI dashboards.
- Apart from standard documentation elements, it also contains sophisticated capabilities such as data profiling for common statistics, flagging quality issues, etc.
- Data Linkage is one of the standout features. The process of analyzing, recording, and displaying data as it flows from data sources to consumers is known as data lineage. Datalogz has the best user-friendly Data Linkage visualizer.
- It is a web-based tool, you don’t have to install anything. You can access your document at any moment, whether you're waiting for a flight or having a cup of coffee.
Datalogz is the easiest way to document data.