What is Metadata?

Metadata is data that provides some description of another dataset. It provides the relationship between the data and its corresponding document or file which can include, but is not limited to: subject, author (creator), creation date, last modification date, type of file (such as word processing, text, sound), language in which created and possibly a list of keywords describing the data.

The definition of meta data is easier to understand when you think about the types of metadata that are around us. Take music for example — on your mobile device or computer. There are tons of artists, bands, and songs. Each of these has relevant metadata that describes and gives information about it- the artist, genre, album, length of the song. This information is metadata- and while the song is data itself, there's a lot more to it that is necessary and beneficial for the user to see and understand.

Why is Metadata important?

Metadata changes a user experience significantly. In a SaaS (software as service) context, users need to be empowered to serve themselves on applications and products. A big part of that is giving them access to the knowledge they need to help themselves, and that usually comes in the form of metadata.

Metadata management is the process of ensuring that all business data and data used in marketing and periodical publications is stored and organized in an efficient, effective manner. One of the ways to make sure that you have a high-quality system in place for managing metadata is to use a “set it and forget it” kind of platform—one that includes features like intelligent grouping and auto suggestions that are based on user behavior. Since metadata covers a wide range of topics, there are many different types of metadata and many different formalisms for defining metadata.

What is Metadata governance?

Governance is the control and direction of your metadata. Metadata governance is a strategic approach to managing your metadata on a day-to-day basis for optimum quality, completeness and accuracy.

Metadata governance is the process of establishing and maintaining control over enterprise metadata. It is a framework of policies, procedures, and tools that enable an organization to manage its metadata assets, thereby enabling it to oversee access to and usage of metadata throughout its organization. Metadata governance aims to enable effective information management based on trust. It is a comprehensive framework to govern the metadata (attributes) and content elements of your infrastructure. A successful metadata governance policy seeks to clarify, consolidate and simplify availability of enterprise-wide metadata. In this way, your data experts can work more efficiently and resolve issues faster.