The range of metadata activity over this last decade is both extensive and astonishing, and substantiates metadata as an integral part of our digital information infrastructure. This entry begins with a brief history of metadata relating to digital information, followed by an overview of different metadata types, functions, and domain-specific definitions. Next, the family of standards comprising a metadata architecture are defined, followed by an overview of metadata generation processes, applications, and people: this latter section gives particular attention to automatic metadata generation approaches. The following section explores four key metadata models. The conclusion summarizes the entry, highlights a number of significant metadata challenges, and notes efforts underway to address metadata challenges in the new millennium.
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