Frequent Questions

What is Metadata?

Metadata is ordinary, everyday, garden variety data.  The concept of metadata is often confusing, partly because it lacks a clear definition.  It is often said that metadata is data about data.


Metadata is a type of data that describes and defines other data, but what makes it different from ordinary data is how it is used.  It is found in documents, messages, images, sound streams, and videos.  The term metadata also refers to data that are used to describe a dataset, such as the content, quality, and condition of data.  It is the information that answers questions like: 

- Who owns the data?
- How was the data collected?
- How current is the data?

It is a set of facts about data and other information elements.  It is everything except for the data itself, and it is undeniably important.

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