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Five Types of Metadata and What They Mean

22nd March 2022

Five Types of Metadata and What They Mean

If you have heard the term ‘metadata’ bandied about, but you’re not quite sure what it means or what it has to tell you, we’ve put together a helpful list of some of the different types of metadata you may encounter.

This information is very useful to have, particularly if you have a lot of digital assets, because metadata is essential for correctly storing and categorising them, so you know exactly where everything is. Metadata can also tell you a lot about how assets are used, where they came from, and so much more.

Read on to find out about some of the main types of metadata and what they mean.

Five Types of Metadata and What They Mean

Use metadata

As the name suggests, use metadata is data that can tell you all about the usage of a particular file or asset. In other words, every time somebody accesses an asset, use metadata will accumulate as a record of their usage – sort of like a library stamp placed in a book each time it is checked out. This metadata can then be used by the system to make predictions about future use of that asset, which could potentially be very helpful.

Preservation metadata

Preservation metadata does just what it says on the tin – it provides information regarding the maintenance of digital assets, and is made up of some of the other types of metadata we will be discussing. The goal of preservation metadata is to ensure the effective digital preservation of your files, and that’s why it includes information on viability and even authenticity of those files.

Structural metadata

Structural metadata offers information that helps to categorise digital assets, in the same way that library books may have labels on them which organise them by alphabetical order or by genre. Structural metadata can also tell you whether a particular asset is part of category, or if it spans multiple categories or collections.

Administrative metadata

Administrative metadata provides comprehensive information about a file, such as when it was made, what type of file it is, where it came from, and various other essential pieces of data such as who owns it, what it is allowed to be used for, and much more. Administrative metadata is very helpful for maintaining your organisation’s security and ensuring that files are shared with the correct people.

Descriptive metadata

As the name indicates, descriptive metadata provides a detailed summary of a particular file, such as the keywords that relate to it, its title and other attributes. This is the information you need in order to locate a file, and will help you to identify it again in future.

DAM software simplifies your dealings with data

If all of this talk of metadata is a little overwhelming, don’t worry. By implementing a sophisticated digital asset management system, you can easily and effectively store, categorise, share and secure your digital assets, with the help of a range of handy features. Contact iBase today to find out more with a one-to-one demo.

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