Metadata means “data about data” or data that describes other data. The prefix “meta” typically means “an underlying definition or description” in technology circles
Metadata makes finding and working with data easier – allowing the user to sort or locate specific documents. Some examples of basic metadata are author, date created, date modified, and file size. Metadata is also used for unstructured data such as images, video, web pages, spreadsheets, etc.
Web pages often include metadata in the form of meta tags. Description and keywords meta tags are commonly used to describe content within a web page. Search engines can use this data to help understand the content within a page.
Metadata can be created manually or through automation. Accuracy is increased using manual creation as it allows the user to input relevant information. Automated metadata creation can be more elementary, usually only displaying basic information such as file size, file extension, when the file was created, for example.
Metadata can be stored and managed in a database, however, without context, it may be impossible to identify metadata just by looking at it. Metadata is useful in managing unstructured data since it provides a common framework to identify and classify a variety of data including videos, audios, genomics data, seismic data, user data, documents, logs.