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At times, organizations, in the interest of consistency, may be forced to take the axe to an otherwise nuanced business glossary but for data consumers across the business to make the most of data, they need the nuance. For instance, in a healthcare organization, it makes sense to have a term, API as app programming interface as required by a technical data analyst in IT department whereas a data scientist in research department may be looking for data on active pharmaceutical ingredients and so the business glossary must be able to absorb both interpretations of the same glossary term. Currently Azure Purivew does not support having multiple instances of the same term with variations in glossary and this is where hierarchical glossary terms will help.


With the introduction of hierarchial glossary terms in Azure Purview you can now define parent-child relationship between terms, and this gives you the ability to define the same term name in different parents. So,  a term “customer” can be present in parent “finance” as well as “sales” with different term templates and custom attributes. This grouping of terms into hierarchies is not just for organizational purpose but will be used in future for access control i.e., providing right set of users have access to right terms using hierarchical path of the glossary.




Figure1: Screenshot showing hierarchical glossary in Purview.




Figure2: Screenshot showing creation of a term as a child to another parent term.





Figure3: Screenshot showing complete hierarchical path for a term. 


To Summarize, grouping business terms in hierarchies will empower you with the following capabilities:

  • Organize glossary terms in hierarchies i.e., defining parent-child relationship between terms.

  • Same term name can be created in different parents to contextualize them as per organization needs.

  • Access control using hierarchical path will allow right set of users to manage the right glossary terms.


Next Steps:

  1. Get an overview of business glossary

  2. Go through how-to-guides to create, import and export glossary termsmanage term templates and bulk edit assets to tag glossary terms. 

  3. Use the tutorials document to setup glossary terms in Azure Purview 

  4. Start a conversation on the Azure Purview tech community. 

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.