Development of our Profession

In the early 1980s, several Data Administration Management and Data Resource Management Chapters formed in the United States. In 1986 four Chapters—Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle—formed DAMA National. In 1988, with the addition of British Columbia-DAMA, DAMA International was established as a 501 (c) 6 corporation in Washington State with an acronym of DAMA-I. DAMA International has grown in both chapters and members throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.  It is the Premier Organization for Data Professionals Worldwide to inspire data management excellence.

In the mid-1990’s, several discussions took place within DAMA-I regarding establishment of a Foundation. However, no action was taken. In the early 2000s, discussions again took place within DAMA-I regarding establishment of a Foundation. At the end of 2003, the outgoing DAMA-I President prepared a draft Strategic Plan for the incoming President. One item on that draft Strategic Plan was to establish a Foundation. In early 2004, the DAMA-I Board accepted the draft Strategic Plan as their formal Strategic Plan and approved a Foundation.

The DAMA Education and Research Foundation was established in the spring of 2004 as a 501 (c) 3 registered charity (#602-388-362) corporation in the state of Washington with the working name of DAMA International Foundation and an acronym of DAMA-F. During middle and late 2004, a Board was established consisting of a President, Ethics Officer, and Past President as executive officers; a VP Finances, Contracts Officer, Grants Officer, VP Operations, Web Page Officer, VP Marketing, and Public Information Officer as staff functions, and VP Education, VP Certifications, VP Standards, and VP Research as line functions. Six prominent academics with international perspectives were designated as an Advisory Board. By-laws were prepared and a Strategic Plan was developed.

The mission of DAMA-F was to promote professional data management. The primary objective of DAMA-F was to establish a formal, certified, recognized, and respected data management profession. The theme was professionals improving the profession. These statements became the first official recognition that a formal data management profession needed to be developed.

The Strategic Plan contained:

  • Management initiatives that covered planning, operational, funding, and marketing for DAMA-F.
  • Education initiatives were established to define a matrix of education curricula with subject areas by skill level, define individual curricula within that matrix, seek accreditation of the curricula, and define career paths within the matrix.
  • Certification initiatives were established to define a matrix of certification criteria similar to the education matrix, establish certification criteria, identify organizations that would provide certifications, develop study guidelines, and investigate professional licensing.
  • Publication initiatives were to develop Generally Accepted Data Management Principles (GADMP), patterned after GAAP for Accounting, continue development of the Guidelines for Implementing Data Resource Management, develop a Journal of Professional Data Management, and provide support to publishers with professional reviewers and authors.
  • Regulation initiatives were to list current regulations pertaining to data management, evaluate regulations currently in place, recommend regulation changes, and establish a Data Management Standards Board.
  • The concepts of an R-DMBOK and an H-DMBOK were put forth. The R-DMBOK was a reference to data management topics, similar to a reference library. The intent was to coordinate publications pertaining to a data management profession. The H-DMBOK was a reference to data management professionals representing the human side.
  • DAMA-I was to establish and maintain a set of Professional Groups for various topics in data management, including the Profession, Documentation, Lexicon, Logical Architecture, Physical Architecture, Stewardship, and Standards. Professional Groups could be added or adjusted as necessary.


A Mutual Affiliation Agreement was developed between DAMA-F and DAMA-I that would brand them with a common purpose. DAMA-I would be the commercial arm with chapters and members, and DAMA-F would be the research and development arm for developing a profession. A single web page would be established for all DAMA activities. A Coordinating Committee would be established to coordinate the activities of the two organizations. That Agreement was finalized in early 2005.

Throughout late 2004, 2005, and early 2006, considerable progress was made toward achieving the initiatives. Progress was made with certifications within DAMA and with an education curriculum. Professional Groups were established, with a Professional Group Council consisting of the Chair of each Professional Group. Considerable funding interest for the DAMA-F was gained through promotion of the initiatives in both the US and in Europe. Input from data management professionals at International Conferences in the U.S. and Europe indicated a high interest and a belief that the initiatives could be achieved within 5 years, which would be the 2010-2011 time frame. The stage was set for successful completion of the initiatives and establishment of a formal data management profession.

In early 2006, concern began to surface about the purpose of DAMA-F and the initiatives they were pursuing. That concern escalated through 2006, and in late 2006 the Mutual Affiliation Agreement was revised to move the education, certification, standards, and research functions to DAMA-I with the assurance that DAMA-I would carry out those initiatives as defined, as well as continue with the Professional Groups. The DAMA-F Board was reduced to a President, Past President, VP Operations, VP Finance, and VP Marketing.

DAMA-F published a Dictionary of Data Management in 2007. DAMA-I published the DAMA Guide to the Data Management Body of Knowledge (DAMA-DMBOK) in 2009. DAMA-F published a second edition of the DAMA Dictionary of Data Management in 2011. DAMA-F obtained some funding through royalties on the Dictionary and a few small donations. Very little else was accomplished as far as achieving the original DAMA-F initiatives.

In late 2011 and early 2012, concern began to surface about a lack of achievement of the original DAMA-F initiatives for developing a formal data management profession. Many people within and without DAMA-I and DAMA-F began to realize that the original initiatives had not been achieved. The Professional Groups no longer existed, the initial funding interest for DAMA-F had vanished, and the DAMA-F Advisors had not been maintained. Plans are currently being prepared to reestablish the initiatives, reestablish the Professional Groups, and seek funding to support development of a formal data management profession.

The DAMA-F By-laws state that a minimum of 80% of the funding acquired by the Foundation will be used to support development of a formal data management profession. The other 20% or less will be used for operational funding, either within DAMA-F or DAMA-I. Marketing strategies are being developed that follow those By-laws. The intent is to reestablish the initiatives and funding interest by the end of 2012.

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Category: Professional Growth

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