Because good research needs good data


Michael Day, DCC/UKOLN

Published: November 2005

Metadata is a popular way of referring to that data that supports the discovery, understanding and management of other data and information.

Capturing and maintaining the correct metadata is increasingly being viewed as perhaps the key to the reuse and preservation of digital objects. A large number of metadata schemas and standards have been developed; these support an extremely wide range of activities.

For example, there are some initiatives specifically concerned with the development of metadata schemas for long-term preservation.

The purpose of this instalment is to provide an introduction to metadata and its potential in supporting the preservation and reuse of digital data and information. It will then explain some of the ways in which metadata may be able to support preservation requirements, highlight a number of key initiatives, and review prospects for the future.

Download the Metadata chapter (pdf)

Key Points

  • The varieties of metadata; descriptive, administrative and structural
  • Automatic capture of technical metadata
  • The importance of context and provenance
  • The exchange of metadata and objects
  • Interaction with registries