It’s important to acknowledge that metadata is complex, varied and there is more than one type of metadata. Each of them could serve a very different purpose in understanding and managing information resources. Below is a summary of three main types of metadata according to the Data Management Body of Knowledge.

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Looks lengthy and complicated, right? Don’t worry. I only have two key takeaways for you to keep in mind.

Firstly, some metadata could be more relevant for business users who are searching for a dataset while other details dictate how businesses protect sensitive data, comply with privacy laws and mitigate security risks. High-quality metadata not only facilitates data discovery (thus speed up time to insight) but also ensures data governance and risk management.

Secondly, metadata is created, consumed and assessed by different stakeholders within the organisation. Just like too many cooks spoil the broth, metadata could easily become a mess if everyone wants to have his own way. So proper management with careful planning, implementation and control is definitely a must to create and maintain high-quality metadata.

Since metadata management (and how to do it properly) is a topic that deserves its own article, I will save it for another day. But have you ever wonder why the life of metadata remains so secret? A few dedicated teams would occasionally talk about it, perhaps a handful of people know what to do with it, and only the most privileged people in the organisation are thinking about how to manage it.

If high-quality metadata matters so much for anyone who works with data in your organisation, why aren’t we giving metadata the attention it deserves?

Well, there is a myriad of reasons to stay ignorant about metadata, let alone taking on new initiatives to manage it. Here are two major roadblocks for metadata management initiatives that you should be aware of.

Unclear tangible benefits and incentives

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You might possess the greatest passion and amazing ideas to help your company manage metadata the right way. But don’t forget your company has a limited amount of time and money while there’s no shortage of pressing issues.

Hence, creating and managing metadata for its own sake rarely works well. At the end of the day, none of those initiatives matters if it doesn’t help the business to solve any top-priority problems.

When neither clear tangible benefits nor critical risks exist to justify the…

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