Data administration, the management of data in the data processing environment, is an increasingly important but understudied subject. During the first quarter of 1981, the IBM Systems Research Institute conducted a survey among IBM's database account systems engineers in the United States in order to determine the state of practice of data administration and the usage of data dictionaries in the data processing environment today. The survey found that the practice is young but firmly established and growing strongly. This article summarizes the findings of that survey and provides interpretations. It also discusses several previous surveys and some classic ideas in the field. © 1982, ACM. All rights reserved.