What is metadata management? Everything you need to know
In the age of big data, sound data management is essential for organizations. But that’s not all: metadata must also be addressed. So, what does the management of metadata entail? How is it done? And what are the benefits? Everything you need to know below.
What is metadata management?
Definition of metadata
The term metadata refers to the primary properties that describe data. For example, this includes the name, description, or manager, or it may even be the data’s classification as personal data. There are several types of metadata, such as descriptive, structural, administrative, referential, and statistical. While the nature of the information varies, all of these types of metadata aim to offer context to the data to improve its use.
Definition of metadata management
Metadata management refers to the managing of metadata to simplify data access, sharing, integration, and analysis within organizations.
Some organizations carried out metadata management prior to the introduction of the internet. Libraries offer the most obvious example of this: metadata management made it possible to know where a book or a magazine is located. With digital transformation, information comes in different formats (web applications, confidential data, work contracts, customer data, etc.). Above all, enormous amounts of data necessitate the establishment of effective metadata management.
Managing your metadata means being able to properly extract key information all while understanding its context and how it can be applied to the company.
Metadata management: What are the benefits?
With the proliferation of data sources, their increasing volume, and their disparity, managing your metadata is critical. There are several reasons for this:
- Information access: In many companies, the data architecture is totally disorganized, with heterogeneous sources and siloed information between departments. Metadata management makes it possible to organize disparate data for improved access.
- Data reuse: By facilitating knowledge sharing, metadata management also makes it easier for multiple parties to reuse data.
- Understanding: Efficient metadata management centers on a unique vocabulary (the data catalog). This enables all users to more quickly comprehend the terminologies used and access the information they need. And this is possible at any technical level.
With all these benefits, it is easier to make decisions, both big and small, grounded in facts.
How do you manage your metadata?
Implementing a metadata management strategy involves several steps:
- Storage: This entails identifying all sources of metadata (whether internal or external to the company).
- Integration: Metadata is generated as soon as new information is published. Any changes to the data must also be integrated.
- Governance: Metadata management is an integral part of data governance. It is therefore essential to define roles, lifecycles, metadata content, etc. This will bring consistency to the information available.
These key steps allow companies to make the most of their ecosystem of information assets (in terms of both content and form).
Conclusion: More valuable than meets the eye
Organizations cannot afford to ignore the vital insights brought by metadata in 2023. While starting a data management project from scratch might seem intimidating, luckily there are a wealth of tools available to make the process as snag-free and scaleable as possible.