CHAPTER 12

The Metadata Component

The most important yet most ambiguous, most amorphous component of the Corporate Information Factory (CIF) is the metadata. From the standpoint of cohesiveness and continuity of structure across the many different components of the CIF, metadata is easily the most important component.

What Is Metadata?

A very common way of thinking about metadata is that it is data about data. An alternate way of describing metadata is that it is everything about data needed to promote its administration and use. These two widely accepted definitions of metadata, however, do not do justice to what metadata really is. A more practical approach to describing metadata by citing some examples:

Images   Date layout. The customer-record layout contains the list of attributes, and their relative position and format of data on the storage media.

Images   Cust-id

char (15)

Images   Cust-name

varchar (45)

Images   Cust-address

varchar (45)

Images   Cust-balance

dec fixed (15, 2)

   Content. There are ...

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