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What is metadata and what are its uses?

What is metadata and what are its uses?

Metadata is actually an identification of computer files, web pages, documents, and other data sources that contain general information about the items listed. In this article, we want to introduce you to the structure of metadata, its types and applications.

What is metadata?

Metadata Contains general information about the web page or website, a document or a file that is created with them. A collection of information related to a document such as its author, file size and date of creation or artist or creator name, album name and year of release of a piece of music or song in a file; Simple examples from Metadata are.

Sample metadata
Sample metadata

The metadata of computer files is either stored inside them or stored elsewhere; For example, the metadata of some EPUB files that typically contain e-books is in the form of an ANNOT file created by Adobe Digital Editions software that contains information such as bookmarks, notes, and notes about e-books as an EPUB file. Published with it.

Metadata actually provides behind-the-scenes information and data that is used everywhere. This information is used in different ways in different areas and in almost all information systems These include information networks, websites, software, content streaming services, and online stores. The metadata file can either be created manually and contain all the information it needs, or it can be created automatically based on the data.

Different types of metadata files

There are several types of metadata files and they can be used for a wide range of purposes. These files can be roughly divided into three general categories: commercial, technical and operational.

The different types of these files are as follows:

  • Files containing descriptive information: These files include, for example, the title, subject, author, or artist of the file, genre, and date of creation.
  • Files containing information related to rights: These files contain information on the status of copyright, copyright holders, and the terms and conditions associated with licenses.
  • Files containing technical information: Such files contain information such as the type, size, date and time of creation of the files and the method of compressing them. Such files can also be used for things like digital theme management and collaboration.
  • Preservation and Preservation Files: These metadata files are used to locate an item in a hierarchy or sequence and specify the path to it.
  • Markup languages ​​in markup languages: These types of metadata files are used to specify the location of an item and the path to access it, and include information such as between title, name, date, index, and paragraph.

Applications of meta data

Meta data They have many applications in the web space and can be used for many purposes such as better visibility of websites in search engine results and gathering the necessary information for various purposes. The most important applications of metadata include the following.

Increase website traffic

The metadata created on the websites plays a very important role in their success. Metadata content Websites Usually includes a brief description of the website, keywords, متاتگ‌ها (Metatags) or Meta tags And so on. Each piece of information in the metadata of a website plays an important role in displaying the links of a website at the top of the search results. Search engines And increase the inbound traffic of websites from search engines.

Putting links to a website at the top Search engine search results Or at least on the first page of these results and increase its inbound traffic from search engines, is one of the main factors in increasing the number of visits to a website and thus increase its popularity and success.

When creating a web page, common metadata such as Meta description And Meta title Is created. A meta description contains a brief description of the content of a web page. This description, which is displayed when search engine links appear in search engine results below each link, provides an overview of the topic and content of a web page.

What is metadata?
The section marked with a green box is the meta description

In fact, the meta description is the first acquaintance of users with the subject and content of one Web page Before opening that page; So you can open the user to open the main topic of the web page well and concisely by writing attractive text for meta descriptions. link Encourage the web page.

The meta title can also help to display the link of a web page at the top of the search results. Search engines look for keywords written for a web page or website and a meta title called SEO title Is known, the most relevant links with key words Displays user searches at the top of search results; So if you write a keyword that is perfectly relevant and relevant to the topic and content of a web page.

Added SEPO to website content management platforms
SEO plugin containing meta title and meta description

When writing a meta title that is usually specified in the SEO plugins of website content management platforms (such as WordPress) with the SEO title, also use some very important keywords related to the theme and content of a web page to create a web page link. Show you (or at least increase the likelihood of that happening) the top of the relevant search results, thus increasing the number of views of the article or any other content you have provided.

In short, your obsession with creating meta data on a web page or website can go a long way in improving the SEO of your web page or website and increasing its traffic. Naturally, increasing website traffic can also be a source of revenue or increase revenue.

It should be noted that search engines also use meta descriptions to categorize different websites to display their links in related search results.

Offer the right goods to the users of online stores according to their needs

owners Online Stores They also use meta descriptions to gather information related to users’ interests and tastes, the keywords they search for, and all of their online activities.

Online store marketers They collect and store information about all users’ clicks, the goods purchased by them in online stores, the type of devices used, the location and time of their online activities, and any other information they are authorized to collect.

After doing this, by analyzing this information, these people get a picture of the usual online activities, interactions, interests, communications and habits of the users, and based on this picture, they can offer the appropriate and needed goods to each user to buy them. Be encouraged.

Monitor users’ online activity

Internet Service Providers (ISPs), governments, and any other organization or company that has access to a vast array of meta data can use the meta data obtained from emails, web pages, and other online resources to monitor users’ online activities. Be and control them.

Tracking and blocking inappropriate content published on the web

Because meta data provides information about large volumes of data, cybercriminals can monitor content posted on the web by searching for keywords related to inappropriate content such as hateful content and threatening content in search engines. And block them.

Governments in some countries are known for collecting meta-data; Such governments not only monitor web traffic, but also monitor other sources of information, such as telephone calls, location, and the like.

Strengthen the performance of social networks and content streaming services to provide better services to users

Whenever with someone in Social Networks Get to know and become friends with him or her, or whenever you view or listen to the content offered on video and audio streaming services, or post status on social media, or share content posted on social media by various users, the metadata behind all this Events are handled in a variety of ways. Pinterest users can create a wide range of articles on a variety of topics; Because the meta data of these articles is stored with them.

Metadata can be very useful and play a very important role in social networks on special occasions; For example, when you are looking for a specific person on social media, you can create IDs, usernames, profile pictures, and short descriptions written by users about yourself as a biography on social media. Find the person you are looking for. All this information is metadata. In addition, if you want to communicate or make friends with a particular person and send a message to him, this information can also help you gain a general knowledge of the person you want.

Provide the necessary information about the files

As we said, all computer files contain metadata and Systems of agents Based on this information, they use or manage the files. Users can also use meta file data to quickly obtain the necessary information about different files and their types.

For example, in the operating system Windows You can right-click on different files and select Properties, all the necessary information about them, including their name, type and location in the computer memory, the date of creation and the date of the last changes made to them, file size and the amount of space occupied by them in memory See the computer, the creator of the files, and more clearly.

File metadata
File metadata

Facilitate the desired file

In addition to Windows, different software uses different forms of meta data; For example, software and tools designed to search for files, by examining metadata, quickly find the files that users want and display them.

Database management

Metadata in the domain Database management It can be used to specify the size, shape and format and other properties of a data item. Interpreting the contents of a database requires access to this information. The eXtensible Markup Language programming language, which is actually a markup language, defines data sources in a way that is based on the use of metadata.

For example, if you have a “dataset” (meaning a systematic collection of data) consisting of different dates and names without metadata, you can not understand what information the data is currently being presented or what columns or rows make up the data. are; But in the case of basic and simple metadata, such as column names, it is easy to get a quick overview of the database to find out what information the datasets are describing.

What is metadata?
Map information is actually a data set, and the metadata displayed is thought to be location metadata.

If a list of names does not contain descriptive meta data, these names can be considered for each individual; But once the metadata is specified for these names (for example, “employee names”), there is no more ambiguity about the names, and you can easily see that the list you are viewing contains the names of the employees. Also, if metadata is created for other information provided in addition to these names (such as employment date or end date of employees), all ambiguities about the various data will be removed; Therefore, we can conclude that metadata has a very important role in the analysis and management of the database, and it is very impossible to do this without the use of metadata or at best.

What data should not be confused with metadata

Metadata is used only to describe various data and is not data itself; For example, the date of creation of an office document and its author are only information related to the document and we can not consider this information as the document itself.

Because meta data contains only general and general information related to the original data, it can in most cases be made available to the general public; Because access to the original data through them is not possible at all; For example, through the meta data of a web page, we can not access its content (unless the web page link is in the metadata file)

Frequently Asked Questions about Metadata

What is metadata?

Metadata contains general information about a web page, a document, or a file; Such as the name, type, date of creation of a file and its storage in the computer memory or the name of the album of a music file and its creator or a brief and general description of the content of a web page

What are the types of metadata files?

Metadata files are divided into three groups: commercial, technical, and operational, based on their structure and the information they contain.

What are the uses of metadata?

Meta data has many applications in the web space and can be used for many purposes such as better visibility of websites in search engine results and gathering the necessary information for various purposes.

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