Bring your company's 'dark data' to light with this free new tool from Tamr

The downloadable metadata app was released Thursday into public beta

All the analytics tools in the world won't do a company much good if it doesn't know what data it has to analyze. Enter Tamr, which now offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that "dark data" problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn't use for analytics or other purposes. It's often unstructured or qualitative data that's harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC's reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization's information assets.

“The CFO can tell you specifically where all the company’s financial assets are, but the CIO or CDO cannot tell you where all the company’s data assets are,” said Nidhi Aggarwal, Tamr's global head of strategy, operations and marketing.

Aiming to help enterprises bring that untapped wealth to light, Tamr's enterprise metadata catalog -- released Thursday into public beta -- can help companies create an inventory of their data sources, including metadata about who owns the source, what tags have been applied to it and profiling metrics about its tables and attributes.

The tool can document different kinds of data sources as well as the people who might be associated with them, enabling organizations to share centralized repositories of metadata along with any associated institutional knowledge.

Users can register, search, filter and tag their sources while also associating them with the analytic questions they need to ask and the applications they need for that purpose.

Tamr Catalog provides a visual representation of related sources, thereby helping users determine which data to curate, unify and prepare for any analysis.

Equipped with that new information, business analysts can enrich their analyses with additional, easily discoverable sources of relevant data, for example, while data architects can see and better understand the organization's data assets, Tamr said.

A component of Tamr's larger Data Unification Platform, the Tamr Catalog Beta is now available as a free, standalone app for download. Tamr will be demonstrating it at Strata + Hadoop World next week in New York.

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