Metadata

Definition(s)

  • The term metadata refers to “data about data”. The term is ambiguous, as it is used for two fundamentally different concepts (types). Structural metadata is about the design and specification of data structures and is more properly called “data about the containers of data”; descriptive metadata, on the other hand, is about individual instances of application data, the data content. In this case, a useful description would be “data about data content” or “content about content” thus metacontent. 1
  • Data about data. Metadata captures data elements or attributes (name, size, date, type, etc.), data about records or data structures (length, fields, columns, etc.) and data about data (where it is located, how it is associated, ownership, etc.). 2
  • Metadata is information about a particular data set which describes how, when and by whom it was collected, created, accessed, modified and how it is formatted. Some metadata, such as file dates and sizes, can easily be seen by users; other metadata can be hidden or embedded and unavailable to computer users who are not technically adept. Metadata is generally not reproduced in full form when a document is printed. (Typically referred to by the not highly informative “short hand” phrase “data about data,” describing the content, quality, condition, history, and other characteristics of the data.) 3
  • Metadata is information about a particular data set which may describe, for example, how, when, and by whom it was received, created, accessed, and/or modified and how it is formatted. Some metadata, such as file dates and sizes, can easily be seen by users; other metadata can be hidden or embedded and unavailable to computer users who are not technically adept. Metadata is generally not reproduced in full form when a document is printed. (Typically referred to by the less informative shorthand phrase “data about data,” it describes the content, quality, condition, history, and other characteristics of the data.) 4
  • Data that describes how, when and by whom a particular set of data was created, edited, formatted, and processed. Access to meta-data provides important evidence, such as blind copy (bcc) recipients, the date a file or email message was created and/or modified, and other similar information. Such information is lost when an electronic document is converted to paper form for production. 5
  • A description or definition of electronic data, or data about data. Often, metadata can only be assessed in certain viewing modes. Metadata can include descriptive HTML tags and information about when a document was created, and what changes have been made on that document. 6
  • Data about data. In data processing, metadata provides information about a document or other data managed within an application or environment. There are five types of metadata: file system, document, email, vendor-added, and customer-added. 7
  • Data about data. In data processing, metadata provides information about a document or other data managed within an application or environment. There are five types of metadata: file system, document, email, vendor-added, and customer-added. Traditionally, the OCR base was the only data extracted from the documents. With e-discovery, the metadata can also be obtained. OCR base in the information that is culled from the images contained within each page. (Read: Whatever text is displayed in the image). Contrasting this is the metadata. The metadata is the “foot print” of the document: it the user to review information obtained about the actual document rather than the content. 8
  • In data processing, metadata is data that provides information about or documentation of other data managed within an application or environment. There are two types of metadata: general and file-specific metadata. Metadata is available for any particular Microsoft file in Windows by right-clicking on a file and viewing file Properties. In the Summary tab the Advanced option brings up the list of all possible metadata for that file. See also general metadata and file-specific metadata. 9
  • Information about data which describes how, when, and by whom it was received, created, accessed, and/or modified and how it is formatted. Some metadata is visible such as file size and date of creation; most is not visible even when the document is printed. 10
  • The data that is attached to files in a computerized filing system. For instance, in a word processing document, the metadata includes: the author, date created, person and date editing the document, the name of the document, the location stored on a hard drive, how many times and when it has been accessed, changed or altered, etc. 11
  • Data about a file itself, such as when it was created, modified, and which computer user authored it. For emails this could also include: bcc, date received, opened status, undeliverable, etc. Different metadata are available for different types of electronic files. Metadata can be useful to understanding more about the document and its relevance to the case.
  • Properties of an electronic file, some of which will be internal and some external, not all of which are necessarily visible when viewing that file. 12

See Also

Notes

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metadata
  2. RenewData, Glossary (10/5/2005).
  3. Merrill Corporation, Electronic Discovery Glossary.
  4. Kroll Ontrack, Glossary of Terms, http://www.krollontrack.com/glossaryterms
  5. Fenwick & West LLP, FWPS eDiscovery Terminology (11/6/2005). Citing Applied Discovery’s Glossary, http://www.lexisnexis.com/applieddiscovery/clientResources/glossary_M.asp
  6. Vinson & Elkins LLP Practice Support, EDD Glossary.
  7. Fios, E-Discovery Glossary, http://discoveryresources.org/01_electronic_discovery_glossary.html
  8. RSI, Glossary.
  9. Ibis Consulting, Glossary.
  10. Legal Electronic Document Institute, Basic Principles of Automated Litigation Support (2005).
  11. Formerly American Document Management, Glossary of Terms, now 5i Solutions Glossary.
  12. LitSavant Ltd., Glossary, http://www.litsavant.com/full-glossary.aspx