What is metadata and why is it important to document?
Metadata can be explained in a few ways:
- Data that provide information about other data.
- Metadata summarizes basic data information, making finding & working with particular instances of data easier.
- Metadata can be created manually to be more accurate, or automatically and contain more basic information.
Examples of information (this is not a comprehensive list) contained within metadata are: creation date of the data, contact information, source agency, map projection and coordinate system, scale, error, explanation of symbology and attributes, data dictionary, data restrictions, and licensing. Essentially, metadata is a description of the data set that helps the user understand the context of the data.