metadata [English]

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ 1. Data, IP2 · Information that characterizes another information resource, especially for purposes of documenting, describing, preserving or managing that resource. – 2. Computing · Any file or database that holds information about a document, record, aggregation of records or another database's structure, attributes, processing or changes.

Other Definitions

  • Black's 9th 2009 (†382 s.v. metadata): Secondary data that organize, manage, and facilitate the use and understanding of primary data. Metadata are evaluated when conducting and responding to electronic discovery. If privileged documents or final versions of computer files may contain metadata, they might be "scrubbed" before release.
  • Gartner IT Glossary (†298 s.v. metadata): Information that describes various facets of an information asset to improve its usability throughout its life cycle. It is metadata that turns information into an asset. Generally speaking, the more valuable the information asset, the more critical it is to manage the metadata about it, because it is the metadata definition that provides understanding that unlocks the value of data.
  • IP2 Dictionary (†242 ): n. ~ Data describing data and data systems; that is the structure of databases, their characteristics, location and usage. [Archives] n., Structured or semi-structured information which enables the creation, management and use of records through time and within and across domains in which they are created. [Archives] n., Data describing context, content and structure of records and their management through time. [Archives] n., Information about a publication as opposed to the content of the publication; includes not only bibliographic description but also other relevant information such as its subject, price, conditions of use, etc. [Arts] n., Data about data. In data processing, meta-data is definitional data that provides information about or documentation of other data managed within an application or environment. [Computer and Information Sciences] n., Data describing or documenting the management, nature, or use of information resources. [General Dictionaries] n., Data associated with either an information system or an information object for purposes of description,
  • SAA Glossary 2005 (†241 ): n. ~ A characterization or description documenting the identification, management, nature, use, or location of information resources (data). Notes: Metadata is commonly defined as "data about data." Metadata is frequently used to locate or manage information resources by abstracting or classifying those resources or by capturing information not inherent in the resource. Typically metadata is organized into distinct categories and relies on conventions to establish the values for each category. For example, administrative metadata may include the date and source of acquisition, disposal date, and disposal method. Descriptive metadata may include information about the content and form of the materials. Preservation metadata may record activities to protect or extend the life of the resource, such as reformatting. Structural metadata may indicate the interrelationships between discrete information resources, such as page numbers. In terms of archives, MARC format and EAD are standards for structuring descriptive metadata about collections. Dublin Core is a standard for structuring metadata that is intended for describing web resources. In terms of information technology, metadata includes the documentation of data architecture, properties, and methods necessary to store, retrieve, and use the data in a meaningful manner. To the extent that data is a record, it may also include administrative, descriptive, preservation, and structural information.
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. metadata): Metadata is "data about data". ...The data providing information about one or more aspects of the data, such as: means of creation of the data, purpose of the data, time and date of creation, creator or author of the data, location on a computer network where the data were created, and standards used.


  • Berman 2008 (†586 p.55): Documentation relating to data content, structure, provenance (history), and context (such as experimental parameters and environmental conditions). Standards for metadata provide a basis for widespread community data sharing. (†1180)
  • Cornell University Library 2000 (†891 ): Metadata describes various attributes of information objects and gives them meaning, context, and organization. . . . ¶ For practical purposes, the types and functions of metadata can be classified into three broad categories: descriptive, structural, and administrative. These categories do not always have well-defined boundaries and often exhibit a significant level of overlap. (†2684)
  • Duranti 2013 (†408 ): Metadata may also constitute a risk. How do metadata follow or trace records in the cloud? How are these metadata migrated as a record preservation activity over time? Is the Cloud provider creating metadata related to the management of the records? (†500)
  • Law 2011 (†581 s.v. metadata): Essential information on a document or Web page, such as publication date, author, keywords, title, and summary. This information is used by search engines to find relevant Web sites when a user requests a search. When designing metadata, there are several rules to keep in mind. Always remember the type of person who will be looking for the content–how would they like the content classified? Only collect metadata that is genuinely useful–someone has to fill in all the metadata, and if you ask for too much, it will slow down the publishing process and make it more expensive. Make sure that all essential information is collected–if copyright information is needed, make certain that copyright is part of the metadata list. Check that people are not abusing metadata–some will put popular keywords in their metadata just to increase the chance of their documents coming up in a search, whether relevant or not. Remember that metadata should be strongly linked with advanced search–the metadata forms the parameters for refining an advanced search. See also meta-tag (†1124)
  • NIST 2013 (†734 p. B-13): Information describing the characteristics of data including, for example, structural metadata describing data structures (e.g., data format, syntax, and semantics) and descriptive metadata describing data contents (e.g., information security labels). (†1830)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. metadata): By describing the contents and context of data files, the usefulness of the original data/files is greatly increased. ...The main purpose of metadata is to facilitate in the discovery of relevant information, more often classified as resource discovery. Metadata also helps organize electronic resources, provide digital identification, and helps support archiving and preservation of the resource. Metadata assists in resource discovery by "allowing resources to be found by relevant criteria, identifying resources, bringing similar resources together, distinguishing dissimilar resources, and giving location information." [NISO, 2004] (†1065)