What is Metadata?

Metadata meaning in Digital terms is Information about an analog or digital object, a component of an object, or a coherent collection of objects. Metadata describing digital content is often structured (e.g., with tagging or markup) and it may be embedded (Metadata, embedded) within a single file, incorporated within the "packaging" that is associated with a group of files (e.g., METS), placed in a related external file (e.g., XMP sidecar file), or in a system external to the digital file (e.g., a database) to which the digital file or files are linked via a unique key or association.


reference: Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative – Glossary