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Free article of the month
Metadata and Taxonomies
Metadata and taxonomies are distinct but related, and both are very important for making information, data, and content easier to manage and find.
The expanding role of metadata management
We all know that data is both important and growing exponentially. That is why metadata, which is summary data about data, is increasingly valuable. However, if we think of metadata simply as “data about data,” then we might think that it is only important for managing data and leave metadata management to people who manage databases or types of database management systems. Metadata is more than that, and the responsibility for it is thus greater.
Metadata is really standardized data about anything with shared attributes that needs to be organized and retrieved. These could be documents, spreadsheets, presentation files, images, multimedia files, or specialized files, such as engineering drawings. The documents and digital content tend to be content within an information system or file system. This is not limited, however, to database management systems, but includes content management system, document management system, digital asset management systems, authoring and publishing systems, collaboration systems, intranet systems, and workflow and project management systems, in addition to those that are forms of database management system, such as customer relationship management systems and product information management systems.
All these systems have features for managing metadata, but they often are not fully utilized or not properly utilized, since the system users often do not understand metadata management that well. As a result, content is less easy to find and manage. It is not difficult to learn good metadata management, but it takes a little effort and attention. The basics include making metadata comprehensive, consistent, justified by business use cases, and user-friendly.