In short, metadata is data about data. Handling metadata is an important facet of data management including in data governance, data quality management and Master Data Management (MDM). When it comes to the new trends in data management as big data and handling data in data lakes, the importance of metadata management will in my eyes become even more obvious.
In a current venture (Product Data Lake) we are working on building in metadata management for business ecosystems, meaning that trading partners can share product information either using the same metadata or linking their different metadata.
Using international, national and industry standards for product information will be the perfect solution within business ecosystem sharing of metadata and indeed this is the preferred option we support. However, there are many competing standards for product information and they come in developing versions, so having everyone on the same page at the same time is quite utopic.
Add to that everyone do not speak English – and even not the same variant of English. Metadata originates and should exist in the languages that is used in trading partnerships.
In Product Data Lake we have started out with these principles:
- Product attributes can be tagged with an attribute type telling about what standard (if any) in terms of product identification, product classification or product feature it adheres to. More about that in the post Connecting Product Information.
- Attribute short and long descriptions can be represented in different languages.
- Trading partners can link their product attributes and have visibility in the Product Data Lake of the standards and descriptions used in the different languages they exist.