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Beyond Schemas: Planning Your XML Model by Jennifer Thompson

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Metadata Attributes

You can use metadata in many different aspects of your information deliverable. Even if you are not using XML, you may be assigning information labels to your information to categorize its importance. Because XML allows you to specify metadata at many levels of your information set, you can create extremely detailed information without actually writing anything for the user to view.

First, let's define the difference between metadata and attributes. Metadata is the information that describes your information, such as, what language it is in, what color it is, or for whom you are writing it. In XML, attributes are a way to express your metadata. The attributes are always represented as name/value pairs. You must use a standard syntax to address your attributes in XML. For example, color="red" is an example of an attribute. color is the attribute name and the value is red.

When you conduct a metadata study, your best results will again come directly from your users. Setting up a series of interviews to ask users to complete the exercise described later in this section will provide you with a starting point to your metadata categories. Other metadata you may discover from search and navigation (click Results) of your web site, or from internal resources such as your support desk.

Be careful when developing your metadata scheme. If you discover that you have too many categories, you may find your information developers become discouraged and frustrated while creating ...

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