What is 'metadata'?

A dictionary would define metadata as 'data about data'. More specifically, however, we should think of metadata as 'data about resources'. Think of metadata as a label or tag on a resource that gives us information about it. Examples of resource metadata would be the title or subject of the resource, publication date or which individual created it.

How do we use metadata?

We use metadata by meta-tagging the resources that will be made available on our website in a structured way. We use the same set of metadata for each resource, but not all labels are relevant to all resources.

What can metadata do for us?

  • Metadata gives us a way of discovering resources, by describing resources in a structured way, by enabling resources to be understood by humans and computers.
  • Metadata makes resources manageable.
  • If we have common metadata standards, it simplifies interoperability and hence we can discover more resources.

What is meta-tagging?

Meta-tagging is the human act of tagging data, in our case resources, with relevant metadata.

Metadata that is used by this site

  • Resource type
    The nature or genre of the content of the resource.
  • Title
    A name given to the resource.
  • Description
    An account of the content of the resource.
  • Audience
    A category of user for whom the resource is intended.
  • Contributors
    An entity responsible for making contributions to the content of the resource.
  • Coverage
    The extent or scope of the content of the resource.
  • Creator
    An entity, be it an individual or organisation, primarily responsible for making the content of the resource.
  • Date
    A date associated with the life cycle of the resource.
  • Publisher
    An entity, be it an individual or organisation, responsible for making the resource available.
  • Relationships
    A reference to a related resource.
  • Rights
    Information about rights held in and over the resource.
  • Source
    A reference to a resource from which the present resource is derived.
  • Status
    The position or state of the resource.
  • Subject
    A topic of the content of the resource. Refinements to this field include entries from the Government Category List (GCL) and the National Public Health Language (NPHL) Thesaurus.

Validates against XHTML 1.0  Cascading Style Sheet compliance  Single A Accessibility compliance