Metadata is data about data or literally "transcends data". This section is about the structure of data. The word metadata means "transcends data." We simplify that to "data about the data." With the complexity of systems increasing it has become more important to communicate among related systems. The problem is that each system uses only part of the information sent to it from nominally related systems.

So how does the system filter all the new data arriving at its interface? We tag the data with information that tells the machine what it is for. Now the machine can look for what it is interested in without having to understand it all. The tags are referred to as metadata because they inform the machine reader how to interpret it. We have markup languages that define how the data can be tagged. Some of these are SGML XML HTML and many more.

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