Metadata is data that describes the characteristics of data or other content. Classic example of metadata is the library catalog. Most people are familiar with metadata such as ID3 tags to describe MP3 songs (song title, artist, year, etc.). Metadata are what helps us be knowledgeable in data. Describes data structure and content, such as:
- What is the subject of the content (e.g. customer data, photos)
- What is the form (data, paper content, digital content)
- What is the content format (such as file format)
- Which language is used
- What is the date of purchase or update of the content
- Who is the author, the administrator or the person acquiring content
- What is the quality of the content (such as resolution, timeliness)
- and other
Waht is metadata for in practice?
The importance of metadata is growing at the time of the explosion of digital content. They help not only in the management of databases, where their structure, properties or location is described, but help users to improve search, orientation, classification and understanding of the content. Metadata help to document the content and understandably keep data over time and use data permanently and transferable from human to human.
In practice, they help us to make sense in enterprise content and answer questions like: Where is the project documentation? Where do we have information about customers? In which applications do we have which data? Which data on suppliers are up to date? Which is the latest version of the agreement?
For metadata management, there are specialized tools and metadata software. In order to enable organizations or applications to share or change data with each other, it is important to comply with the metadata standards. They unify the structure, semantics and syntax of metadata. Even more this works for data on the web where, thanks to the use of metadata, we talk about the semantic web.