What is metadata?

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | November 28th, 2014

If you think about a phone conversation being ‘data’ then ‘metadata’ is everything that describes that data. For a phone call, this would include who the call is made from, who it is made to, the duration of the call, where the call initiated and where it terminated and so on.

In isolation, metadata doesn’t hold a huge amount of value, however when it is aggregated together in large amounts and with metadata from other sources, then it begins to have real value.

It has never previously been possible to aggregate and analyse large volumes of data, but the advances in technology, including big data, make this far easier than it ever used to be, even for small companies.

A great example of where metadata is utilised is within SharePoint. Many people have traditionally saved their information in network shares on servers. They have then nested folders and sub folders below this to organise and categorise their information. This structure makes sense to the person who created it but not to others.

Using metadata in SharePoint allows you to ‘tag’ files into categories and use these categories to filter and sort the data quickly and easily in a manner that makes sense to the person using it.

Working effectively with metadata requires some work and planning to get the structure and descriptions correct, but the investment is well worth it. Done right, metadata can dramatically reduce the depth of a traditional folder structure and make data more visible to those who need it. This results in improved productivity.

If you need help understanding how metadata can benefit your organisation then don’t hesitate to contact Correct Solutions on (02) 8831 8200.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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