First we had content, then not long after that we had metadata, although no-one called it that. Now we need parametadata – the metadata about metadata!
Neither metadata nor parametadata are anything new, but what is new is how central they have become to all sorts of business processes. People think there is something modern and techie about metadata, but ever since the first author signed their initials on a piece of work, or added a title, we have had metadata. Librarians are just one group who have been using metadata for centuries.
Thanks to technological advances, there is now a huge amount of processing that can be done with metadata, indeed that needs to be done if we are to have any idea what assets we have available. Metadata has become the active driver of numerous business processes. You couldn’t operate a computer without the metadata that tells you the name of a file, its location, when it was last saved, etc. and this sort of metadata is so ubiquitous that nobody tends to think about it too much. Now metadata is so pervasive, it is becoming increasingly important to talk about it and define different aspects and types.
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