Talk:2.1.1 Wat is metadata?

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Many people have attempted to define exactly what metadata is, but although it appears obvious, it remains a deceptively difficult concept to grasp. The most common definition of metadata is exemplified by Craglia et al. (2008):

“Metadata is data about other data”.

Metadata thus describes an information source. However, especially with specific regards to metadata for geo-information, this remains an exceptionally vague definition. Craglia et al. (2000) acknowledge the vagueness of this definition and identify the several issues which should be included in any complete definition of metadata as metadata can serve a variety of purposes. For example, metadata could be used to identify a resource or to evaluate a resource.

Metadata can also be approached from differing perspectives. Furthermore, metadata can be approached from the perspective of the user or from the perspective of the data producer or even from the perspective of the manager of the metadata. Kim (1999) attempts to marry these variables with the following definition of metadata for geographic information:


“Metadata allows a producer to fully describe a dataset so users can understand the assumptions and limitations and evaluate the dataset's applicability for their intended use” (Kim, 1999)


This definition, however, still only encompasses the exploration category of metadata as described by Nebert (2004) below, and does not include the need for metadata to assist users and organisations in finding and managing their data. A better definition is provided by the European Commission (2007) in the INSPIRE directive and is defined as:


“information describing spatial data sets and spatial data services and making it possible to discover, inventory and use them.”