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Metadata refers to the information (or data) that describes data. There are six main types of metadata: descriptive, structural, preservation, provenance, use, and administrative. Descriptive metadata is the most common type of metadata encountered by the average internet user. Most downloaded files contain some form of descriptive data. For example, an e-book file contains information including the book title and the author’s name; this is descriptive metadata. Other forms, such as use data, provide specific information about a user's access to downloaded files. Use metadata can provide information about when the file was downloaded or how many users purchased the file.

What Small and Midsize Businesses Need to Know About Metadata

For businesses, analyzing certain forms of metadata can provide crucial information that helps predict customers’ future purchases or make more relevant suggestions based on their previous interests.

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