How Data is Collected: Metadata

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Metadata is the second level within the four levels of data. This type of data is attached to other data and is typically more specific and descriptive than the initial data. To put it more simply, metadata is data about data. As the user, you could have some control over this type of data, but much less compared to input data. 

Metadata: a set of data that describes and gives information about other data (for example, GPS data that is attached to a photo, the details about the camera used to capture the photo, resolution, and other information that travels with a photo).

Image from Medium

Metadata can be automatically generated with information that is typically more elementary and basic in nature, but it can also be manually input, allowing the user to provide as much or as little detail as possible. 

In the data world, there are three different types of metadata: descriptive, structural and administrative.

  • Descriptive: used for discovery and identification and includes information like title, author, abstract and keywords.
  • Structural: shows how information is put together – page order to chapters, for example.
  • Administrative: enables better resource management by showing information like when and how the resource was created. Two types of administrative metadata are those that deal with intellectual property rights and preservation metadata, used to archive and preserve a resource.

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