Is it metadata or is it meta data? What is the difference between metadata versus meta data? I get this question all the time.

The short answer is there is no difference – it is simply a matter of the correct spelling of “metadata“. Call it what you will, taxonomy, meta data or metainformation, it is all metadata.

It is far more important to understand how to use metadata – because using metadata properly will result in a very successful website, generating more page views, a more engaged audience and more revenue from advertising and ecommerce.

The real world use of metadata software to provide relationships between content and ecommerce effectively allows a web site to automatically present your related content and ecommerce.

For example, if you are reading a story about the history of John Keynes, you will automatically be presented with the opportunity to purchase the above book because Laffer was a disciple of Keynes. Even though Keynes is not mentioned in the book.

These hidden relationships exist in the human brain – but do not exist in computers and software. So, whenever anyone asks me about metadata software and automatic metadata generation – we encourage them to use editors and actual human beings to align the metadata with their content and their ecommerce.

Automatic metadata generation software has not yet come to the point where we can trust it to think like a human. Therefore, and especially in the b-to-b space, you commonly get results that do not make sense.

Many people ask the question “how do you define metadata?“

Metadata is simply information about data. Metadata’s job is to put your data in context.

As a simple example, if you saw the numbers 20500 - there is no context for its meaning. But align the data with some metadata such as “Zip Code“ and now you know it’s the White House.

Using metadata on a website can greatly enhance the relationship of content pieces to each other, and most notably relate content to your ecommerce automatically.

A metadata example in this instance would be if you are selling a book online, that book might be classified in several ways:

  • The Type – is it a downloadable PDF, An Audio Book, A Printed Book, etc.
  • The Location – I want it to appear in my product catalog and with special offers.
  • The Themes – it may belong to a larger theme, such as Economics
  • The Topics - it covers certain main topics, such as Supply Side Economics
  • The Sub-Topics – it may discuss the effects of Globalization & Deregulation
  • The Companies – it may have examples of specific companies in the book
  • The People – perhaps it quotes people such as Adam Smith or Arthur Laffer

Obviously the above is a brief example, as you can have an unlimited number of metadata branches, commonly referred to as a taxonomy tree. Each industry typically has its own “language“ and needs so it differs from vertical to vertical.

So, to sum it up:

  • Metadata versus meta data – its metadata
  • Taxonomy, meta data and metainformation are all metadata
  • Metadata gives data context, helps create associations and relationships between things in software the way your brain does automatically
  • Using Metada is a must to generate more revenue and create a better online experience
  • Automatic Metadata Generation – only to be used when you have an unmanageably large data repository, or are looking for base-level associations to start