It has become evident over the past several years that understanding how to use all the data that your business creates and obtains has been viewed from many different angles. Metadata is all the underlying information about data.
Yes, it’s data about data; and it is the key to much of the insights you will get out of any business intelligence (BI) or business analytics (BA) system. Let’s go through the different types of metadata and explain a little bit about how it is used and why it is so important.
Types of Metadata
Metadata, like the data it organizes, is broken down into three basic subsets. They include
- Descriptive metadata – This is metadata that contains all descriptive information about the underlying data. Variables like title, description, and keywords.
- Structural metadata – This is metadata that describes how underlying data is related to other files.
- Administrative metadata – This is metadata that describes information that allows certain data to be managed. Data such as author or creator of data.
All that information is attached to each and every file you have and makes it possible to use each file to help promote business intelligence through analysis.
What Metadata Is Used For
To best understand how metadata is important, you should understand how it is used. Here are five ways metadata is used:
Metadata helps users find and retrieve specific data or content efficiently. For example, in a digital library, metadata like titles, authors, and subject keywords enable users to search for and access relevant books or articles.
Data Management and Organization
Metadata aids in categorizing and structuring data, making it easier to manage and maintain. It helps with data governance, ensuring that data is accurately labeled and tracked, which is critical for data quality and compliance.
In the context of the internet and search engines, metadata, such as meta tags in web pages, is used to provide information about the content of web pages. This makes web content discoverable through search engine results and improves search engine optimization (SEO).
Archiving and Preservation
Metadata is crucial for preserving digital and physical archives. It documents information about the source, format, provenance, and history of archived materials, facilitating long-term preservation and future access.
Digital Rights Management
In the realm of digital media and publishing, metadata is used to manage and enforce copyright and licensing information. This ensures that content is used in compliance with intellectual property rights and licensing agreements.
One More Thing on Search Engine Optimization Metadata
This wouldn’t quite feel complete without diving deeper into website metadata. Website metadata has been a part of search engine optimization (SEO) for a long time now, but how does Google actually use it?
According to most experts, and insights from the staff at Google, the metadata description is used to give Google an option for their search results snippet, which is the text that shows up under each search result. It doesn’t actually play into how a website ranks these days, but a good meta description can help improve click rates. Meta keywords aren’t actually used by the major search engines, and haven’t been used in several years. As it turns out, most search engines are smart enough to provide really good results without relying on this information, because their crawlers read the website copy in a similar way that a human would.
Technology runs our lives, our businesses, and the society we live in. For more technology-related insights, please return to our blog regularly.