Jon Udell writes:
Metadata is data about data, a secondary thing that’s separate in some way from the primary thing to which it refers. But that definition begs a series of questions. Is metadata something we derive from data, or assign to it? Does it classify things, or enable us to search for things, or govern the behavior of things? If data that is described by metadata also, in turn, refers to other data, does it then qualify as both data and metadata?
As we weave more and better metadata into software, documents, Web sites, and file systems, the information stored in these various containers will become more available, more cohesive, and therefore more useful. The next challenge is how — in this new era of interconnected systems, people, and business processes — to unite these separate realms.