Scuba Tech Library

What is Metadata Storage?

Metadata is often described as “information about information” or “data about data”. Metadata describes a piece of data and its link to other data. Metadata storage is a key aspect of data management, as it provides context and makes information easier to index, search, and access. As you can imagine, metadata storage becomes increasingly complex as we produce ever-growing volumes of data. 

Types of metadata

There are many distinctive types of metadata, including: 

  • Descriptive metadata 
  • Structural metadata 
  • Administrative metadata
  • Technical metadata 
  • Reference metadata
  • Object metadata
  • Operational metadata
  • Extraction and transformation metadata
  • End-user metadata

These and other classifications help to provide context and a point of reference for understanding the metadata.  

Metadata storage

Metadata is often stored within the digital file itself, or in an accompanying file. For larger volumes of data, a metadata storage system, such as a database, is required. 

Storing metadata in digital files

File formats like XML, MPEG4, and JPEG2000 are commonly used for metadata storage. Some of the metadata can be extracted from digital assets for external use, while it can also be embedded.

A vital benefit of digital storage is that metadata stays in a file even after being removed from the original context.

Storing metadata in a database

Metadata storage in a database for digital collection is standard for developers. It generally stores the metadata away from the file.

This could be a simple system with the required element fields to describe information and a digital file’s location in the internal hard drive. For larger metadata sets, businesses may use asset management systems, data lakes, data warehouses, or other data repositories. 

Metadata storage benefits and best practices

Proper metadata storage is important because it ensures the ability to understand, aggregate, group, and sort valuable data. Oftentimes, data quality issues stem from poor metadata management.

Benefits of metadata

Metadata provides an easy way to sort, categorize, simplify, and access information, even in massive amounts. It promotes better data quality and facilitates valuable analytics that businesses can use to provide value to their customers. It addresses data complexities associated with massive amounts of data storage. 

Best practices for metadata management

  • Define a metadata strategy that supports the organization’s business vision and objectives. Consider how you’ll use the metadata now and in the future, as well as the type of information for which you want to manage metadata. 
  • Establish clear roles and define ownership for metadata creators, consumers, and managers. 
  • Consider a metadata management tool to help you build, catalog, and govern your data and facilitate deeper analysis of your data.
  • Adopt metadata standards for consistent tagging and usage within your organization, such as the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set or others. The type of metadata standard used should coincide with the type of data it is describing.
  • Engage the entire organization in the commitment to prioritizing data, metadata, and analytics.

Better data management with Scuba

Data is highly useful for all types of organizations. To leverage and make sense of it all, however, requires a bit of structure. Various types of metadata provide helpful information about data for use in a wealth of different scenarios, including data warehousing.

Looking for a better way to manage, collect, analyze, and act upon data at your organization? Learn how Scuba Analytics can improve your customer journey analytics today!

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