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What is metadata?

About metadata

Simply put, metadata is data about data. It is descriptive information about a particular data set, object, or resource, including how it is formatted, and when and by whom it was collected. Although metadata most commonly refers to web resources, it can be about either physical or electronic resources. It may be created automatically using software or entered by hand.

The underlying concepts of metadata have been in use for as long as collections of information have been organized. For example, the information structure for materials in library card catalogs is a type of metadata that has served as a collection management and resource discovery tool for decades.

Using metadata, it is possible to create customizable tags for markup languages such as XML and SGML.

Metadata at Indiana University

At Indiana University, for help with metadata, including metadata needs for research data management, contact metadata experts at the IU Libraries at  metadata@iu.edu .

More information

For more information about metadata and how it used, see:

Much of this information comes from the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative FAQ.

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Last modified on October 04, 2013.

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