Metadata is critical to your digital domain
Metadata is the lexicon of your digital domain. Metadata is more vital than many organisations realise. AI & organisational knowledge depend on it. We literally use metadata to describe the universe: high volumes of digital information about galaxies far, far away. Without metadata, there would simply be a multitude of stars lacking the relationships & relevancy needed to be viewed as constellations or galaxies. Metadata is the common language that places order among the stars to create a constellation. As data volumes grow, the need to use metadata to facilitate science-forward analytics becomes ever more important.
The term metadata is here used to mean application metadata – vocabulary designed for machines & systems & which is not human-friendly. But metadata is not just a departmental or application-centric resource. Metadata generated by people is known as semantics. The web relies on semantic input and users benefit from semantic tagging when using search engines.
Love your metadata
Being data itself, metadata also needs curation – it has a lifecycle, workflow, permissioning & expiry – just like other forms of data. And as with data, there is a growing realisation of the value of active, rather than passive, metadata. Using metadata actively also implies maintenance.
Consider the impact of poor metadata on search capability or credentials. If your metadata is poorly curated, search results will be inaccurate. If your credentials’ metadata is poorly curated you will have security vulnerabilities which opens the door to unauthorised access of your APIs. Metadata needs to be both accurate and up-to-date.
Generating onward value from your data is only achievable if you can provision it to other environments where it can be understood consistently by both humans & machines, across and beyond your domain. Metadata is a key to interoperability, but both data and metadata require curation if you wish to retain a healthy ecosystem.
The benefits of metadata
First, metadata opens the door to greater and more accurate marketing & sales insights (typically 70% of such resources sit on the virtual shelf) through:
Secondly, the more generic benefits of metadata include: