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Data management is becoming more and more central to the business model of enterprises. There are different types of data, and each type of data has its own special characteristics, challenges and concerns. Reference data is a special type of data that is found in practically every enterprise application including back-end systems, front-end commerce applications, and in data warehouses. It turns other data into meaningful business information and provides an information context for the wider world in which the enterprise functions. Yet it is rarely managed well — data duplication and inconsistent mappings of reference data across applications frequently lead to costly business errors. This paper discusses the challenges associated with implementing a reference data management solution. It outlines best practices for the governance and management of reference data and describes fundamental capabilities that should be provided in any modern reference data solution.