Meta data

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Data about data. In data processing, meta-data is definitional data that provides information about or documentation of other data managed within an application or environment.
For example, meta-data would document data about data elements or attributes, (name, size, data type, etc) and data about records or data structures (length, fields, columns, etc) and data about data (where it is located, how it is associated, ownership, etc.). Meta-data may include descriptive information about the context, quality and condition, or characteristics of the data.
[, 2004]

Metadata is ”data about data” which allows computers to process information more effectively.
[Dmoz, 2004]

Meta-data are data behind data, coming after the primary data, as in the sense of Aristoteles' book on metaphysis being the book coming after the his books of physics. In the more common sense of today, meta-data has mainly two meanings, three applications, and four requirements to fulfill for the IEEE reference model:

That are the two meanings

  1. catalogue (find &get it) and
  2. context data (understand it)

Three applications:

  1. Find data . That is the functionality of catalogue-systems.
  2. Get data . Meta-data is needed in interchange and real transportation of data. Meta-data-formats are very often defined in interchange formats of data and their description.
  3. Understand data. Metadata help to interpret and understand the numbers, words and other thing denoted as data. Thus it serves as context explanatory-data like user documenation and help.
[Krasemann, 1996]

Metadata (Greek: meta-+data "information"), literally "data about data", is information that describes another set of data. A common example is a library catalog card, which contains data about the contents and location of a book: It is data about the data in the book referred to by the card. Other common contents of metadata include the source or author of the described dataset, how it should be accessed, and its limitations.
[Wikipedia, 2004]

[...] the sum total of what one can say about any information object at any level of aggregation. [...] In general all information objects, regardless of the physical or intellectual form they take, have three features - content, context, and structure - all of which can be reflected through metadata.
[Baca, 2000]

Data that describes information about either online or offline data. Information that characterizes the who, what, where, and how related to data collection. Often, the information refers to special tagged fields in a document that provide information about the document to search engines and other computer applications.
[Bitpipe, 2004]


  • Metadata