What is metadata a Gentle Introduction to metadata
In this article we take a simplistic view to metadata, in general ‘meta-data’ is summarised as ‘data about data’ and can be actually applied to anything. It is possible to describe a file on a computer in exactly the same way as one would describe a piece of art on a wall, a person on a job, or a place on a map. The only differences are in the content of the metadata, and how it refers to the “thing” being described.
Metadata is data. It is snippets of information that have particular meaning, in relation to some other piece of information (the raw data). It can be treated and managed like any other form of information, in terms of how it is created, managed, stored, and so on. Metadata generally has little value on its own. Metadata is information that adds value to other information. A piece of metadata like a place or person’s name is only useful when it is applied to something like a photograph or a clinical sample.
The truth is, we come into contact with Metadata everyday but don’t necessarily recognise it as such.
In fact here is a example, a fish can’s label is loaded with metadata that one could easily categorise in different ways. There’s the name brand that is typically grouped together along with the type of fish. These could be two pieces of easily identifiable metadata one could use: “Name Brand” and “Type of Soup”. At the back of the label, one may see weights, ingredients, nutrition value, cooking information or even recipes.
Add-on Metadata generally has little value on its own. Metadata is information that adds value to other information. A piece of metadata like a place or person’s name is only useful when it is applied to something like a photograph or a clinical sample. There are, though, counter-examples, like gene sequence annotations and text transcripts of audio, where the metadata does have its own value, and can be seen as useful data in its own right. It’s not always obvious when this might happen.
Definition of Metadata
Metadata literally means “data about data.” Metadata label, describe, or characterise other data and make it easier to retrieve, interpret, or use information.
Technical metadata are metadata used to describe technology and data structures. Examples of technical metadata are field names, length, type, lineage,and database table layouts.
Business metadata describe the nontechnical aspects of data and their usage.Examples are field definitions, report names, headings in reports and on Web pages,application screen names, data quality statistics, and the parties accountable for data quality for a particular field. Some organisations would classify ETL (Extract–Transform–Load) transformations as business metadata.
Audit trail metadata are a specific type of metadata, typically stored in a record and protected from alteration, that capture how, when, and by whom the data were created, accessed, updated, or deleted. Audit trail metadata are used for security, compliance, or forensic purposes. Examples include timestamp, creator, create date, and update date. Although audit trail metadata are typically stored in a record, technical metadata and business metadata are usually stored separately from the data they describe.
These are the most common types of metadata, but it could be argued that there are other types of metadata that make it easier to retrieve, interpret, or use information. The label for any metadata may not be as important as the fact that it is being deliberately used to support data goals. Any discipline or activity that uses data is likely to have associated metadata.
Read more in the below presentation.
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