Metadata

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Metadata is machine-understandable information for the Web. It could be described as "data about data." Metadata is the characteristics of a document that allow it to be found by a search engine. Metadata addresses the need for a common framework that expresses assertions about information on the Web. The whole idea behind a system of metadata is to improve access to the Web for everyone.

Metadata and Semantic Engines

Metadata is arranged so that semantic search engines can sort and find matching keywords quickly and methodically. There are three key parts to a set of metadata for any given document, that describe the quality, quantity and condition and any other characteristics of any given set of data.

Metadata Details

Metadata is, essentially, a set of data keys, providing information such as the author of the work, date of creation, size of document, and links to other similar documents among other things. Metadata is available for almost every group of objects that exists, whether online or otherwise. Think of library cards, for example, or doctor's patient files as just two examples.

The Internet is so large, that it is difficult for the human mind to even comprehend just how big it is, and it is growing by the second. Unfortunately, until now there is no standard system for finding and accessing data on the Internet. The use of metadata, although used by a fairly small proportion of Internet users, is going some of the way towards addressing that problem, and is being further facilitated by the introduction of extensible markup language (XML) which is fast replacing HTML, the old system, because of its greater capacity for adaptability and inter-platform communication.


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