Metadata is an important concept in your online presence. It can be explained as a set of terms used to describe and categorise content.

Put simply, metadata is information about data, content and website pages. Its literal meaning is “data about data”. It’s the background information that explains appropriate characteristics of the data such as content, quality and condition. It answers the who, what, where, how and why questions about your content. It is therefore essential for functions such as search, distribution access and retention.

It is important to understand the structure, limitations, definition, and description of data, as without this understanding, there is a risk of misinterpreting or misusing data; for example, if you’re looking for an article on playing the guitar, you only want articles that suit what you need (i.e. how to play the guitar), not just articles about guitars (buying them, reviews and so on). It’s important to make sure the metadata maintains data integrity –  that the metadata matches what’s actually contained in the document.

Metadata – more than just data about dataOn the web

Metadata is also used to identify commercial web pages and its content. On the internet, metadata appears in the form of invisible lines at the top of the web page and it contains data about that page. This helps internet search engines navigate the site for indexing. It also helps to provide likely revisit criteria. By containing key data such as an author, date published, key words, or topic, metadata helps bring visitors back to the site through search engines.

When uploading resources, it is important to classify the resource as soon as possible in the form of metadata. Content with little or no metadata will be difficult to find. It is useful to use fixed list metadata in the form of a check box list to ensure resources are defined using a fixed list of categories rather than free text entry. This makes sure that the same keywords are used when classifying resources as well as when searching for the resources.

Different formats

Metadata also has many formats. One common format for web pages is the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is the main markup language for creating web pages and a variety of information displayed in a web browser. HTML provides a smart way to view metadata using your web browser.

Various models can also be used to organise metadata. However, the biggest challenge is to find an effective metadata model to successfully manage content. There is nothing worse than having a large storage of data that users cannot search and access information from. Usability is the key.

The bottom line is, it is essential to know the importance of metadata. You cannot conduct online business efficiently without using it correctly. If you need help sorting the right meta data for your website and online content contact the Strivens tech’s team today.