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Add Metadata to a Report

This page describes how to add metadata to a central report. Metadata is defined as “information that describes data”. Report metadata describes information about the report, and also contains a high level description of the report contents. Examples of report metadata are the report ID, Executive Summary, Data Custodian, and thereport author.

Central reports, or reports published on the central server, are required to display certain metadata components. These components provide report context and support information.

Get Started

Steps to take What Happens
  1. Create and publish a central report.
  2. Note the name of the report you have created, with the .rdl extension, so you can add the report metadata described in this document.
You need to add metadata to a central report that you have created.
  1. Follow the steps in How To Get Setup to Add Metadata to a Report..
Before you can add metadata to a central report, you need to:

  1. Request Access to Write Reports (one time step),
  2. Install the MS Access Report Metadata Front End Tool
  3. Connect to the Report Metadata Database
  1. Collect the report metadata for each report you run.
Examples of required metadata are outlined in red in Figure 1. These red boxes display the information entered in the fields with the red field names on the data entry screen in Figure 2 of these instructions.
Sample report with metadata in colored boxes

Figure 1. Sample report with metadata.

About Report Metadata

Where is Report Metadata Stored? Metadata is stored in the Microsoft (MS) SQL database called ReportMetadata, in the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW).
How do I enter data into theReportMetadata database? The data entry front-end tool used to enter the metadata is an MS Access database called RptMetaData.accdb, described in Install the MS Access Report Metadata Front End Tool. You must install and use this front end tool because the ReportMetadata database contains links to tables in the MS SQL database. When you input metadata into the MS Access database, that data is automatically stored in ReportMetadata.

add metadata tools

Enter Report Metadata


  • To minimize metadata clutter, only add metadata for reports that are certain to be published. Do not create metadata for reports that are prototypes or are experimental.
  • It is possible to overwrite your fellow report developers’ entries. Be sure you are working on the correct metadata entries!
  1. Open the MS Access database RptMetaData.accdb (downloaded earlier)
    A window resembling Figure 3 will appear.

    Report metadata data entry screen

    Figure 3. Report metadata data entry screen.

  2. Determine the report code for your report.
    This code is the unique identifier for your report’s metadata and is the Business KEY in theReportMetadata database.
    The report code is comprised of two parts:
    A subject matter prefix. Select the report code’s subject matter prefix from the table below.

    Code Subject Area
    ACAD Academic
    ADMIN Administrative
    AP Academic Personnel
    BEN Benefits
    FIN Finance
    MSTR Master Data
    GL General Ledger
    HR Human Resources
    PAYR Payroll

    A sequential number representing the report code that begins at 1001 for each subject area. For example, ACAD1001 is the report code for the first report in the Academic subject area. Select the report code’s sequential number:

    1. In the top section of the data entry window, called Table of Metadata Entries in Figure 3, sort the report code column alphabetically by clicking on the small triangle next to the column heading report metadata
    2. Scroll down to the next available number for your subject area. For example, if you are adding metadata for an Academics report, scroll through the entries starting with ACAD to find an available number within the sequence, or select the next highest number in the sequence for ACAD if all others are taken.
    3. Enter the next available number in the sequence in the Report Code box next to the Subject Area prefix chosen.
  3. Enter the metadata for your report.
    Click the add a new record button
    Enter the following metadata:

    Report Code (required): select the subject matter prefix from the Report Pfx dropdown box, and then enter the report code as described in 2b above.

    Report File Name (required): Enter the file name of the report
    [Important! This file name must match the name of the .rdl file you created. If it does not match, it will not appear in the Report Catalog’s report search results]

    Report Create Date (required): Enter the date the report was created

    Report Title (required): Enter the title of the report , which matches the report title in the header of the report, next to the UW logo

    Sub Title (required): Enter the subtitle of the report, which matches the subtitle in the header of the report, next to the UW logo. If there is no subtitle, leave this field blank

    Report URL(required): This is the URL of the production version of your report. If you’re not sure what that will be, you can refer to other records in the Report Metadata database to infer the value.

    More Info URL (optional): This field houses a hyperlink to a webpage containing additional metadata about the report. Such webpages are currently hosted outside EDW central environment and Decision Support website, and are offered by those report developers/sponsors who wish to share additional information about the report

    Exec Summary (required): Enter information that helps users understand the report and gives context for particular business rules that were applied.

    Data Desc (optional): This field records information about the data that is useful to the report developer or others supporting the report

    Known Issues (optional): Records information about any known issues with the data in the report

    Report Steward Name (required): Enter the custodian for the data.

    Report Author Name (required): Name of the report author(s).

    Report Contributor Name (optional): Name of the report contributor(s).

    Report Support Name (required): Name of the office charged with providing support for the report

    Report Support Email (required): Group email for the office charged with supporting the report.

    DB List (textual) (required): Enter a list of the EDW database(s) from which the report data is pulled

    Statements (optional): Select from the list of security statements those that should be included on the report. They will appear at the bottom of the metadata in the report footer

Link Your Main Report to its Metadata in the reportmetadata Database

Steps to take What Happens
To enter the report code in your report:

  1. Open your report file (.rdl) in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS). (This tool is discussed in Create/Publish Central Reports, step 8.)
  2. While in either the Data or Layout tabs for the .rdl file, click Report > Report Parameters… from the file menu.
  3. In the Parameters box on the left, click the ReportID parameter. If your report doesn’t already contain this parameter, create it with the settings indicated in the image below.
  4. In the Default values section, click Non-queried, and enter the Report Code
  5. Change the existing Report Code to your Report Code. (If you created your report using the ReportTemplate.rdl file, the existing Report Code is ADMIN1003 – simply replace this with your Report Code).
  6. Click OK.
  7. Save your file.
The report code is the link between your report and the metadata you stored for your report. Follow the instructions to enter the report code in your report.

Report Parameters window

Include Report Metadata Subreports in Your Report Project

Steps to take What Happens
  1. When you begin to work on your report project on your desktop, be sure these files are included in the list of files for your project.

The placement of these files is highlighted in tan in Figure 4.

After you have entered your metadata, two report objects are created in the MS SQL Database with their own .rdl file extensions. These subreport file names are ExecutiveSummary_sub.rdl and AboutThisReport_sub.rdl.

where files go

Display Metadata While Developing a Report

Steps to take What Happens
To download ExecutiveSummary_sub.rdl and AboutthisReport_sub.rdl:

  1. Click on the ExecutiveSummary_sub.rdl link, which will open up a Report Manager session in a browser window.
  2. If prompted, log in as “netid\yournetid”, without the quotes, and using your UWNetID password
  3. Click on the Properties tab
  4. Click on the Edit link (under Report Definition), and Save the file to your computer.
  5. From within your BIDS project:
    1. Right-click on the Reports folder
    2. Choose Add > Existing Item…
    3. Navigate to where you stored the ExecutiveSummary_sub.rdl file
    4. Click to select it
    5. Click Add
  6. Repeat these steps for the AboutThisReport_sub.rdl.
For report metadata to display properly from within your Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) project, your BIDS project must contain the:

  • ExecutiveSummary_sub.rdl file
  • AboutthisReport_sub.rdl file
To add the new data source:

  1. Right click on the Shared Data Sources folder
  2. Click Add New Data Source
  3. Enter ReportMetadata for the name
  4. Leave Type as Microsoft SQL Server
  5. For Connection string, enter Data\Test;Initial Catalog=ReportMetaData
  6. Click OK

For report metadata to display properly from within your Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) project, your BIDS project must also contain:

  • A shared datasource pointing to the MS SQL ReportMetadata database

shared data source