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Why does metadata matter?

data tag cloud

Why does metadata matter?

Metadata is a term created by a Greek prefix "meta" and a Latin word "data." "Meta" means "after, behind or beyond" and "data" is factual information used for calculating, reasoning or measuring. Metadata means something behind or beyond data itself, and it includes data about its content, containers and contextual information.

A formal definition would be:

Metadata is data about data, data associated with an object, a document, or a dataset for purposes of description, administration, technical functionality and preservation.

  • Metadata is not new. It has been defining the aboutness of documents, knowledge, instances of knowledge presentation, or collections since human civilization.
  • Metadata makes sense of your data in a traditional world and a digital environment.
  • Metadata allows your data to be organized, indexed, discovered and accessed in paper or online.
  • Metadata permits software agents to navigate and “comprehend” web content.
  • Metadata affects the placing of your data in the search results and increases the chance that your data will get clicked.
  • Metadata plays an even bigger role when content is non-textual or information cannot be easily derived from textual content (examples would be multi-media and datasets).
  • Tags, thesauri, taxonomy and ontology are all forms of metadata which creates the “foundation” for web 2.0 (social media era) and web 3.0 (semantic web).
  • In an institutional context, metadata brings the learning outcomes, research productions and community cultural heritages to databases, aggregators, the web and ideally a link data cloud...