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Metadata is information that describes data and allows it to be stored, located and retrieved. Metadata can be used to describe digital files such as videos, images, documents, audio files and more. Digital files and assets are given value by the metadata that describes them – not only by making it possible to locate and repurpose them, but also to ensure others who wish to use or license an asset can find out where it originated from.
We’ve brought together some key points from interesting articles about metadata to get you started.
Christine Benson from Brain Traffic categorises metadata into three main types:
Some of each of the three types of metadata is likely to be used on a typical piece of content, but how and when they get defined is very different. The structural metadata gets identified as part of your system requirements. Administrative and descriptive metadata are identified during the creation or curation of specific content. If you think of it like a form, the structural metadata supports which information needs to be collected (fields on the page), and the descriptive and administrative metadata provide the values for those form fields. (Read more…)
This video gives you a great visual introduction to metadata:
Theresa Putkey from KeyPointe gives a concise explanation: In the IT world, I liken metadata to fields and taxonomy to drop-down lists that appear in fields. With metadata, it’s either automatically created (such as a document author or creation date or last modified date) or manually entered by the user (such as the document title). A metadata field might include a subject name and when the user goes to the Subject Name field, he will see a list of subjects to choose from. This list of subjects is kept track of using the taxonomy. The common user isn’t allowed to add subject terms but can only select a pre-existing term to filter search results. (read more…)
Metadata is a vast subject, but the importance of assigning correct metadata to assets is ever-growing. It is essential for digital preservation, monetising your assets and general findability – the importance of metadata means there are a huge variety of resources available to help you learn more. You can read more from our article sources or related articles below.
Article curated by Christina Berry
An Introduction to Metadata – Christine Benson, Brain Traffic Blog
Timelapse: What is metadata? – Presentation for the RCA, uploaded by user Tortoisebutler
A gentle introduction to metadata – Jeff Good – University of California, Berkeley
The Basics of Taxonomy Use and Maintenance – Theresa Putkey, KeyPointe Usability Consulting