What is the importance of Metadata ? - An Easy Explanation

What is Meta Data?

Metadata Definition

In easy words if we say, Metadata is Data about Data.

So why do we need data about data?
Take this scenario specially when we are dealing with enormous amount of data .
For example there is a company in retail business for past 20 years. Now they want to revamp there business and strategies to increase the sales manifold. So they want to get some information about customer's buying trends like in which season they sell more whether its summer , winter.
Does holiday time has more sale for kids products? What products sell more during christmas etc.

Now they have collected records history for past 20 years , but how do they utilize it? The data which would be possibly in terabytes or even more than that in petabytes.
How do they find out which customer buys more of baby products, or which customer is more oriented to clothes and all?

Isn't it difficult to go through hundreds of billions of records , arrange them in order and find out the relevant information ?
So what needs to be done?
Here comes into picture "Metadata"

Metadata will help here to identify records based on a search criteria and will render the location details of the much needed customer information records.

Meta data is often stored as XML files.
For webpages we have Meta tags like that  are metadata and give information about content of the webpage. These metatags will have Keywords and Descriptions when it was created etc.

Browsers will use this metadata to search and display this webpage .

Metadata Management

There are a few guidelines of creating meta data. We must see that tags that we create should be inside the if it is a webpage.
Also we need to provide meta data in pairs of name and values.

Meta data is of two types, one which gives information such as where the data is stored, location and data containers. This is called structural Meta data.

Other one gives in depth information about the actual content of the data. this is called descriptive metadata .

Metadata in database

Metadata is stored in a database and is often referred to as as metadata repository