What is metadata?

Metadata is the descriptive information or properties that describe data, such as its format, structure, source, usage, or ownership. It can describe the characteristics, properties, and attributes of data, allowing for easier understanding, organization, and retrieval.

For example, the metadata for a product can include details such as the product name, SKU number, and campaign ID. The metadata for an image can be the photographer's name, location, and the date the photo was taken.

What is the purpose of metadata?

Metadata serves as the backbone of effective data management. It helps companies understand, organize, search, integrate, govern, and preserve data efficiently and accurately.

Here are some common purposes that metadata is used for:

  1. Description and Identification: With additional information about the attributes of the data, it becomes easier to identify, categorize, and differentiate them from other similar data entities.
  2. Contextual Understanding: Data becomes easier to understand and interpret when contextual information (such as the data source, creation date, author, or version) is added to it.
  3. Search and Discovery: By assigning keywords, tags, or labels to the data, it becomes easier and quicker to search for, filter through, and retrieve the data.