Term: metadata Class:  
 vernacular   (100%)
Created 9 July 2013
Last modified 17 March 2016
Contributed by John Kunze


Definition: One or more elements of structured data that describes or accompanies a thing.
Examples: Often the thing is other data, such as a spreadsheet, digital document, or database, but metadata can describe or accompany a book, bone, statue, tree, conference or performance.

Term is virtually always used in this technically plural form. Seems like it makes more sense to define data and metadata in the plural forms and then derive the singular from that. Submitted 14 April 2016
by Stephen
Metadata: data that is intended to characterize a resource to enable others to find and use it by documenting the content, provenance, quality, ownership, or stewardship of the resource. Submitted 14 April 2016
by Stephen
A suggested simplification of the definition: "One or more elements of structured data that describes or accompanies a thing." Submitted 14 April 2016
by Roy
Need to add context to the list of things that can be documented Submitted 14 April 2016
by Ruth
Metadata describes properties of an object as a whole, authorized by the resource creators; provides information needed to be able to interpret and re-use the object [SMR paraphrase from Peter Wittenburg e-mail 11/7/2013] Submitted 14 April 2016
by Stephen
I like that simplification. Done. Submitted 14 April 2016
by John
a) The existence of metadata has dependency -- on the existence of data

b) Metadata are data thus share some similar properties, e.g., sometimes can be created, stored, (accessed) in the same way.

c) The differentiation between the two largely come from
1) the purpose of usage: metadata describe the context of the data and mainly used for discovery purposes; data are used for producing values;
2) the requirements for their different usage, e.g., different requirements in security level (access to data tends to be more restrict than to metadata); for discovery purposes, a metadata registry are normally implemented, likely exist in an external site.
[e-mail from Yin Chen, 11/8/2013]
Submitted 14 April 2016
by Stephen
Data that supports a function associated with an object. Example of objects: data, photographs, scholarly articles, people, things, places. Functions: e.g., discovery, rights management, life-cycle management, preservation, etc. Submitted 26 October 2016
by Jane