System Information Schema Views (Transact-SQL)

THIS TOPIC APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server (starting with 2012)noAzure SQL DatabasenoAzure SQL Data Warehouse noParallel Data Warehouse

An information schema view is one of several methods SQL Server provides for obtaining metadata. Information schema views provide an internal, system table-independent view of the SQL Server metadata. Information schema views enable applications to work correctly although significant changes have been made to the underlying system tables. The information schema views included in SQL Server comply with the ISO standard definition for the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.

Important

Some changes have been made to the information schema views that break backward compatibility. These changes are described in the topics for the specific views.

SQL Server supports a three-part naming convention when you refer to the current server. The ISO standard also supports a three-part naming convention. However, the names used in both naming conventions are different. The information schema views are defined in a special schema named INFORMATION_SCHEMA. This schema is contained in each database. Each information schema view contains metadata for all data objects stored in that particular database. The following table shows the relationships between the SQL Server names and the SQL standard names.

SQL Server name Maps to this equivalent SQL standard name
Database Catalog
Schema Schema
Object Object
user-defined data type Domain

This name-mapping convention applies to the following SQL Server ISO-compatible views.

CHECK_CONSTRAINTS REFERENTIAL_CONSTRAINTS
COLUMN_DOMAIN_USAGE ROUTINES
COLUMN_PRIVILEGES ROUTINE_COLUMNS
COLUMNS SCHEMATA
CONSTRAINT_COLUMN_USAGE TABLE_CONSTRAINTS
CONSTRAINT_TABLE_USAGE TABLE_PRIVILEGES
DOMAIN_CONSTRAINTS TABLES
DOMAINS VIEW_COLUMN_USAGE
KEY_COLUMN_USAGE VIEW_TABLE_USAGE
PARAMETERS VIEWS

Also, some views contain references to different classes of data such as character data or binary data.

When you reference the information schema views, you must use a qualified name that includes the INFORMATION_SCHEMA schema name. For example:

SELECT TABLE_CATALOG, TABLE_SCHEMA, TABLE_NAME, COLUMN_NAME, COLUMN_DEFAULT  
FROM AdventureWorks2012.INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS  
WHERE TABLE_NAME = N'Product';  
GO  

See Also

System Views (Transact-SQL)
Data Types (Transact-SQL)
System Stored Procedures (Transact-SQL)