NISO Offers Public Free Primer on Metadata

BETHESDA, MD - July 28, 2004 - Understanding Metadata, an introduction to metadata that includes an overview of leading metadata contenders and examples of practical applications, is now available as a free download from the National Information Standards Organization ( The publication covers a range of fundamentals, from a definition of metadata and descriptions of the types of metadata, to creating metadata and future directions.
In brief, the 20-page publication defines metadata as "structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource." Essentially, it is data about data, or information about information.

"Metadata can describe resources at any level of aggregation," noted Pat Harris, Executive Director of NISO. "It can describe a collection, a single resource, or a component part of a larger resources, such as a photo in an article. It's key to ensuring that resources will survive and continue to be accessible into the future."

About NISO

NISO, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation.