One definition given to metadata is that it is data about data. This is a general way of defining this term. To understand it better, metadata works to provide context to content. In applications, it provides a description about the workings of the applications. It would define how things are to function, so to speak. In many instances, metadata facilitates data organization and management.
Having metadata is helpful in many instances. But other people don’t even know that metadata is being recorded in every document and other file format they create. The rest just do not mind them. On the other hand, many individuals and companies are very concerned about revealing metadata to other people. For businesses, giving out documents and other data with metadata embedded in them could put them at a competitive disadvantage. Even posting data such as spreadsheet and documents on their website could potentially harm the company.
Fortunately, metadata removal software is now available. Microsoft for one released a metadata removal add-in. This software is capable of removing all the hidden data. It also removes collaboration data like track changes from MS Word, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint files. This add in is specifically only for Windows XP and Office 2003 though.
Other vendors also have their own offering, all of which aim to help clean files from metadata. By producing clean files first before sending them to other parties, the companies are only sharing information they intend to share. Sharing information will be controlled and managed. They do not have to worry about sending out data that may be hidden and embedded with the files.