In developing the metadata standards, reviewers noted that they often had complete data dictionaries for their entity, attribute, and attribute value information, and preferred to refer to the existing descriptions instead of duplicating them. The Overview Description provides the elements needed to give users a sense of the information content and a reference to the source(s) of the complete description. Note that the Overview Description does not relieve the producer of the responsibility to provide a complete description. The Overview Description elements refer to the source of the complete description, and do not allow a producer merely to summarize the information content.
The two approaches can be used together to document a data set. The Overview Description would be used to describe data for which a complete description is available elsewhere; the Detailed Description would be used to describe data for which a complete description has not been compiled elsewhere.
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