Littera Deusto

Modern Languages, Basque Studies and Humanities

Group E – Metadata & Metacontents

enero 15th, 2007 · No hay Comentarios

A piece of information -for example the number 16086364- given out of a context is meaningless. It is necessary something more about that data in order to understand that the content represents one individual’s ID card, and that is what we call metadata. This concept of metadata is very interesting in a variety of fields of computer science.

There are some definitions needed so as to understand accurately what all these terms mean on the whole:

  • Data: in a very large sense, it refers to “numbers, characters, images or other outputs from devices to convert physical quantities into symbols processed by a human or input into a computer or transmitted to another human or computer”. Data processing occurs by stages -from raw data to processed data (Wikipedia, visited: 01/12/2007).
  • Metadata: the most common and specific definition for the term is “data about data“, that could be developed as “structured, encoded data that describe characteristics of information-bearing entities to aid in the identification, discovery, assessment, and management of the described entities” (Wikipedia, visited: 01/12/2007).
  • Content: referring to computing, it means “the ’stuff’ that makes up a website“, such as words, pictures, images or sounds. In other words, “the ‘information’ a website provides” (, visited: 01/12/2007).
  • Metacontent: it is the information relating to the document’s content, such as its title, author, size, date, changes-history, key words…, etc. A metacontent can be used for searching and leaking information, and administering documents (Joaquín Bravo Montero, visited: 01/12/2007).

A metalanguage, in computing terms, refers to the programming languages developed for computers to process data and information. Three examples of these are:

  1. HTML (
  2. XML (
  3. SGML (

The new Internet, the Web 2.0, offers us endless possibilities, but there is something missing – in words of W3C platform “a part of the Web which contains information about information – labeling, cataloging and descriptive information structured in such a way that allows Web pages to be properly searched and processed in particular by computers. In other words, what is now very much needed on the Web is metadata“.


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