About Tableau Catalog

Data is increasing in volume, formats, and importance leading to more complex environments. With the rapid pace that data changes, it can be hard to keep track of that data and how it's being used in such complex environments. At the same time, more users need to access more of that data in more places, and it’s difficult for users to find the right data. Ultimately, this causes a lack of trust in the data because people question whether they’re using the right source or if the source is up to date.

Tableau Catalog integrates features like lineage, impact analysis, data dictionary, data quality warnings, and search into your Tableau applications, helping solve these problems differently from a stand-alone catalog. It focuses on both IT and the end user so that everyone using Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud has more trust in and visibility into the data, while also enabling more discoverability. Tableau Catalog builds a catalog out of the Tableau content being used by your organization, enabling comprehensive functionality like the following:

  • Impact analysis and lineage.
    • You can see the workbooks and other Tableau content that depend on particular columns or fields from tables or data sources you manage. When you need to make changes to your data, you can notify the impacted Tableau authors using email.
    • As a workbook author, you can use lineage to trace the fields that your workbook depends on.
    • As a user, when you use a Tableau visualization, you can see where the data came from that was used to create the view.
  • Curation and trust. As a data steward, you can add helpful metadata, like descriptions and certification, so that users find the right data. You can set data quality warnings, view data details on the Data Details pane, certify assets, and remove assets from the catalog.
  • Data discovery. In Tableau Desktop or Tableau web authoring, you can use Tableau Catalog to search for databases, tables, data sources, and virtual connections to analyze in Tableau and connect to them from the search results.

Starting in 2019.3, Tableau Catalog is available as part of the Data Management offering for Tableau Server and Tableau Cloud. When the product key is active and enabled, the catalog features described above are integrated into the product you're using, so you can work with the data where you find it.

How Tableau Catalog works

Tableau Catalog discovers and indexes all the content on your site—workbooks, data sources, sheets, virtual connections, and flows—to gather metadata about the content. From the metadata, external assets (databases, tables, and other objects) are identified. Knowing the relationships between the content and the external assets enables Tableau to display the lineage of the content and external assets. Tableau Catalog also enables users to connect to external assets using Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud.

Users on your site can publish or delete content, can attach data quality warnings or certifications, or do anything else that changes the content or its metadata on the site, and Tableau Catalog will update its information accordingly.

For information about how you can use Tableau Catalog to support data governance in your organization, see Governance in Tableau(Link opens in a new window) in the Tableau Blueprint Help.

Key Tableau Catalog terms

  • Metadata. Information about the data.
  • Tableau content. Content created in Tableau such as workbooks, data sources, virtual connections, and flows.
  • External assets. The metadata about the databases and tables used by Tableau content that's published to Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud.

License Tableau Catalog

Tableau Catalog is licensed through Data Management. For information about how Data Management licensing works, see License Data Management.

Enable Tableau Catalog

After Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud is licensed with the Data Management, you can enable Tableau Catalog by doing one of the following tasks:

  • For Tableau Cloud, no action is necessary. Tableau Catalog is on by default, configured to use derived permissions, and ready to use. For more information about derived permissions, see the Permissions on metadata topic.
  • For Tableau Server, the Server admin must first enable the Tableau Metadata API using the tsm maintenance metadata-services command. For more information, see Enable Tableau Catalog.

    After the Metadata API is enabled, Tableau Catalog is on by default, configured to use derived permissions, and ready to use. For more information about derived permissions, see the Permissions on metadata topic.

Features and functionality

To learn more about the features you can use with Tableau Catalog, see the following Help articles:

Data discovery

Curation and trust

Lineage and impact analysis

Developer resources

You can use metadata methods in the Tableau REST API to programmatically update certain metadata. For more information about the metadata methods, see Metadata Methods in the Tableau Server REST API.

In addition to the REST API, you can use the Tableau Metadata API(Link opens in a new window) to programmatically query metadata from the content published to Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud. The Metadata API is fast and flexible and is best when you are looking to find out specific information about the relationship between metadata and its structures. Explore and test queries against the Metadata API using an interactive in-browser tool called GraphiQL(Link opens in a new window).

Note: Data Management is not required to use the Metadata API or GraphiQL.

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