Metadata is a type of data that describes other data. Data is any sort of information stored in a system. A record of someone’s contact information would be regular data, while info about when that record was created or who created it would be metadata. Metadata summarises and gives additional, general information.
Technipages Explains Metadata
Assigning metadata to other data can be very useful as it provides context – it can also make it easier to manage, manipulate and work with data.
An example: Managing photos is a lot easier when they have metadata attached. That could be location or timestamps – either can help identify specific groups of pictures. This means that it’s much faster to download or delete in bulk. The same is true for other data – metadata helps identify it. Metadata can be added to things either manually or automatically. Some devices like smartphones automatically attach geographical information or timestamps to images.
Alternatively, it’s often possible to add information later – usually, this requires compatible software though. In Windows, viewing the properties of an mp3 file makes it possible to change certain metadata, for example. From track artist to album to contributing parties, lots of metadata can be added, edited or deleted. In some cases, metadata is protected against manipulation – timestamps are the most common example of this. Images and videos with a timestamp usually make it difficult if not impossible to manipulate these timestamps. This type of metadata can even be used in situations like court – to establish an alibi or prove someone’s whereabouts at a certain time for example.
Common Uses of Metadata
- Metadata provides data on other data.
- There are several practical uses for metadata.
- The manipulation of different types of metadata is possible but not always easy.
Common Misuses of Metadata
- Metadata is the kind of data the government has on its people.