What is Metadata and what's its purpose?
Metadata is by definition "data about other data" of any type and sort in any media. It is used to facilitate the understanding, characteristics and management usage of data. For effective data management, the Metadata should include data that is coherent with the context of use.(1)
This Metadata is used for better access to the enormous amounts of data stored and managed by different companies. Metadata provides context for data. In data processing, for example, Metadata is definitional, it gives documentation of other data in the application or environment. The term "Metadata" should be used carefully since all data is about something and hence is "Metadata".(1)
In Databases, Metadata defines data elements and attributes (Name, data type, size, etc), data could be registered about structures and records as well (Length, columns and fields). This is extremely helpful for the reliability of databases and their efficiency. In a library, for example, the data is the content of the titles, and the Metadata is about the title, the author,a description of the content, the physical location and the date of publication. In addition, it protects investment in data, helps the user in understanding data,enables discovery options, and limits Liability. All of these reasons, make Metadata the backbone in understanding a DBMS.(2)
Examples of Metadata include; Photograph:
- Date and time
- Camera Settings Like:
- Focal Length, aperture, exposure
- Descriptive Text
An example of the Metadata used on this website could be mentioned here and it is as follows: blogger.com, blogspot.com, free blog, personal blog, weblog, create blog, new blog"> The information being registered as Metada is all about and relevant to the content of the blogger site. Arguably,search engines like YAHOO and GOOGLE still use website Metadata as part of the search criteria. Metadata information was widely used previously for Search engines until more advanced techniques were implemented, still to this day most websites include Metadata or "Data about other data" in the website.(*)
(*) This website, and others, mentioned above.