Metadata is a piece of information described in a document, file, or web page. Metadata can also be thought of as a brief explanation or overview of the data.

A repository of data such as the file size, creation date, keywords, and the author is an example of metadata for a document.

It is possible to save metadata within or outside of a computer file, as in the case of some book files that maintain metadata in an attached file.

Metadata is behind-the-scenes data that is used in a variety of ways by everyone in every business. Information systems, social media, websites, software, music services, and online shopping all use it. Metadata can be manually constructed by selecting what should be included, or it can be generated automatically depending on the data.

Different models of Metadata

Metadata exists in a number of formats and is utilized for a wide range of objectives that may be classified as corporate, technical, or operational.

  • Rights metadata – license term and copyright status.
  • Technical metadata – file size and type. For digital object management and interoperability, technical information is frequently employed.
  • Preservation metadata – this one is utilized in the navigation sector. The position of an item in a hierarchy or sequence is an example of preservation metadata features.
  • Descriptive metadata – genre, subject, author.
  • Markup languages – navigation and interoperability (name, list, date).

Metadata and websites

The metadata that is included in websites is vital to the site’s performance. It contains information like a website description, keywords, metatags, and more, all of which influence search results.

Meta title and meta description are two typical metadata words used when creating a web page. The meta title defines the page’s topic in a few words to assist viewers to understand what they’ll get if they open it. The meta description provides additional, if brief, information about the page’s contents.

Both of these bits of metadata are presented on search engines to provide visitors with a short overview of the page’s content. When you search for a certain term or collection of keywords, the search engine utilizes this information to group together related things so that the results are relevant to your search.

The language in which a web page was produced, such as whether it is an HTML page, may also be included in the metadata.

Metadata and online marketing

Metadata is used by retailers and online shopping platforms to track customers’ habits and movements. Digital marketers track every click and purchase you make, collecting information about you like the device you’re using, your location, the time of day, and any other information they’re legally authorized to collect.

They may use this information to build a picture of your everyday interactions, tastes, connections, and habits, which they can then use to promote their goods to you.

Metadata and social media

Metadata is at work in the background every time you friend someone on Facebook, listen to music Spotify suggests for you, publish a status, or share someone’s tweet. Because of the metadata associated with the articles, Pinterest users may construct boards of linked content.

Metadata can be particularly handy in a variety of social media settings, such as when you’re searching for someone on Facebook. Before opting to friend or message a Facebook person, you may view their profile photograph and a brief description to discover the fundamentals about them.


Metadata is information that describes the information, but it is not information in and of itself. In a Microsoft Word document, for example, the author and creation date information is not the complete content, but just a few characteristics about the file.

Because metadata is not the same as the data itself, it may normally be made public without exposing the raw data. Knowing summary facts about a web page or video file, for example, is sufficient to comprehend what the file is but insufficient to view or play the entire page or video.