What is metadata?

Metadata is all the rage on social networking sites and is a commonly tossed around term in this day and age. But what is really meant by the term metadata.

Metadata: (First used in 1983) data that provides information about other data

While this dictionary definition is perfectly accurate, “data that provides information about other data” can still be rather confusing. In its simplest term metadata is any information contained in a file, that doesn’t pertain to the file contents. For example, when you view the properties of a given file, there is information about when the file was created and modified. Those dates are information about the file, but don’t pertain to the contents of the file itself. Information such as GPS-tags on digital photographs are also considered metadata. Those are both examples of metadata. Its not the data content of the Word document but information about when it was made and its not the image in the digital picture, but information about what camera took the picture as well as where and when it was taken. We hope that helps explain the term a little more clearly.