Metadata deals with data about data. It presents the background information that describes the content, quality, condition, and other appropriate characteristics of the data. It is used to make the understanding, use and management of data easier.
There are two ways to go on learning how to create metadata. One is to attend a metadata training workshop or develop a metadata of your own. The development of metadata is more than storing text in a cryptic format. Metadata development is organized in four phases: creation, verification, distribution, and maintenance. These phases are described as follows:
1. Creation. The phase is where strategies are developed and techniques are implemented to create metadata. These include assembling information, review of other metadata examples, and familiarity with the Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM), and choice of metadata tool.
2. Verification. At this phase, the data has been completed and the information it contains must be reviewed or parsed. Parsing refers to a procedure where values and structure of metadata records are reviewed against the CSDGM. Any errors in the metadata record are identified for correction. A metadata record is considered compliant if they are successfully parsed and error-free document.
3. Distribution. As soon as the metadata record has passed the parse routine, it is ready for distribution. The main purpose of metadata is to help geospatial data users find the data they need and determine how best to use it. Thus, having the metadata get to the user is as important as the data itself.
4. Maintenance. This phase is keeping the metadata update and reviews it periodically. Any change in data, you will have to document the change in the metadata.