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Q: What is Metadata?

A: Metadata is frequently described as "data about data." Metadata is additional information (besides the spatial & tabular data) that is required to make the data useful. Metadata represents a set of characteristics about the data that are normally not contained within the data itself. Metadata may include:

  • An inventory of existing data
  • Definitions of the names and data items
  • A keyword list of names and definitions
  • An index of the inventory and the keyword list for access
  • A record of the steps performed on the data including how it was collected
  • Documentation of the data structures and data models used
  • A recording of the steps used on the data for analysis

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