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Mastering Metadata Management:
An initial step

What is Metadata?
Metadata is the unsung hero of the digital world, quietly working behind the scenes to organize, describe, and provide context for your data. In the realm of information management, metadata is the key to unlocking the full potential of your enterprise’s data assets. But what exactly is metadata?

Metadata, simply put, is data about data. It’s the information that describes the characteristics and attributes of your data, making it easier to find, understand, and utilize. Metadata has various aspects, such as:

Descriptive Metadata: This type of metadata provides information about the content, such as titles, keywords, authors, and summaries. It’s like the cover of a book, giving you a quick glimpse of what’s inside.
Technical Metadata: This includes details like file formats, data size, creation dates, and version history. It helps ensure data integrity and compatibility.
Administrative Metadata: This category covers ownership, access rights, and usage permissions. It helps in managing data security and compliance.
For effective management of data within an organization, this information is invaluable. However creating, updating and managing this information requires significant effort. In the next section we will have a look at one of the challenges you can expect when implementing metadata management within your organization.

The challenge of metadata span
What does a single definition mean? A single definition could have multiple interpretations, especially across the boundaries of divisions of a company.From the perspective of the HR department, an asset often refers to an employee. Whilst from the perspective of the IT department, an asset can refer to the ERP. These definitions of these assets vary widely. Definition span is a challenge that is most common for descriptive metadata.

A common solution is to find a consensus for a specific definition. This results in long discussions in which often a suboptimal description will be formulated. These definitions are hard to fully grasp and they tend to lose their value quickly because the reality tends to change. Also, are these definitions updated when the market changes? Do they feel natural within the team you are working in? Also in the perspective of security and governance, not all metadata should have the same constraints.

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