Chapter 4

Metadata – An Overview

4.1 Introduction

The word metadata has a number of meanings, not all obviously-related to one another. Several formal definitions exist, most of them defining the word to mean “data about data.” The word seems to have been coined in 1969 by Jack E. Myers, who intended to choose a term with no particular meaning in the data management community. In the ensuing years, the word has been enthusiastically adopted by the data community, but with varying meanings.

Multiple online dictionaries define the word. Wikipedia1 says this: “Metadata has come to be used to refer to data about data.” Dictionary.com2 includes this definition: “Data about data. In data processing, metadata is definitional data that provides information ...

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