Metadata is any data that describes other data. For example, search keywords describing a web page or tags for a blog entry are metadata. Using this page as an example, "metadata, meta, data, computer, dictionary, jargon, term, glossary, define, about" are all keywords that describe this page. Alone these words are meaningless; however, all these words combined give a basic understanding of a page without having to read everything on the page.
How is the metadata used?
- Document metadata gives information about a document such as the author, when it was created, when it was last modified, and its size.
- Web page metadata is used to help describe the page and make it easier for search engines and other computers to understand the page.
- Video metadata and Photo metadata is data embedded into a photo that includes location, when it was taken, the camera used, resolution, and other useful information.
How is metadata created?
Metadata is often created automatically by a hardware device or software program but can also be edited manually. For example, when new cameras and smartphones take a picture or create a video, the metadata is automatically added by the device. However, using a software program that data can also be changed or updated.
How to view metadata
In many programs with metadata you can view the files information or properties to see the metadata. For example, in Microsoft Word click File and then Info to see all information about the document including the metadata (e.g., properties, created date, authors, etc.).