Metadata has many uses and in each application it has the term metadata can also be defined in a different way. The most general and the most simplistic definitions of term are that metadata is information about information and it is data about data.
Metadata is quite useful in providing context for data. For more complex uses, metadata are better defined more specifically according to its uses and types. And just as there are many metadata uses, different metadata format is also used in storing such data.
When it comes to images, for example, metadata is recorded with the image files when they are in EXIF and TIFF. Tagging is also possible when using the XMP format. For processing metadata recording, Adobe’s camera RAW and Apple’s Aperture software are both quite capable.
In business intelligence, on the other hand, company data are stored in data warehouses and these data are normally analyzed to come up with reports and trends for the purpose of facilitating better decision making among managers and other executives. Three types of metadata are stored in this process. The first is the OLAP metadata which describes the structures of measures, dimensions, cubes and levels among others. Reporting metadata include the structures and also the description about the charts, reports, queries, variables, datasets, filters and expressions. Data mining metadata, on the other hand, defines descriptions and structures of algorithms, datasets and queries. All in all, business intelligence metadata defines how data should be queried, analyzed, filtered and also displayed. It describes how financial reports are calculated, specifically those reported in Wall Street.
Geospatial metadata, of course, are there to provide description for geographic objects. They are stored in a geographic information system and at times as documents too.