Using metadata management tools has become a standard in recent years. What are the most popular ones? What is the metadata itself, and why its management is so significant?
What is metadata?
Before heading on to explaining what stands behind metadata management, it’s worth clarifying the meaning of metadata itself. To simplify its definition, we could call it “data that describes the data”. By doing so, the metadata helps to understand the data, analyse it, and draw conclusions, which allows, for example, adjusting the communication and improving the targeting.
Metadata not only makes working with specific data easier but also helps to track it. Let’s take a look at it on an example: you have an mp3 file on your phone – it’s data. The metadata is the name of the album and the artist’s name. In the case of a picture, it would be a type of compression, creation date, and time. When it comes to metadata on websites or social media, it allows us to speed up the search and connect the related information.
What is metadata management?
Effective management of the metadata or data governance can be a great way to improve the effectiveness of communication, campaigns, and the company’s workflow. Metadata management is generally divided into two fields: analytics governance and information governance. Within these fields, we can differentiate:
- data governance – moving and transforming the data;
- data valuation – improving its quality by modeling and semantic management;
- data risk and compliance – protecting data at rest and in motion;
- data analytics – receiving insights.
To end up with satisfying results, the data management tools have to combine the two fields of governance.
Metadata management & data catalog tools
To verify the utility of the metadata management tools, it’s worth paying attention to a few significant aspects. Firstly, check if it enables data classification, lineage, and profiling. Business glossary and support for the workflow are other features, that might be significant for you or your company when choosing the metadata management tool. Some of them are available on the cloud, while others – on the premises, which also influences the potential users’ choice.
When it comes to data catalog tools, the aspects mentioned above are also significant. Other things worth checking are the options of exporting (Excel, HTML, PDF, MS), and the automation of cataloging. Many data catalogs are available for free – mostly as a limited version. Checking all the available options is an important step, as it allows to adjust the tool to your needs.