Describing information

Describing information and records allows users to understand what they are, where they came from, what has happened to them and the relationships they have with other information assets. The more effective the description, the more likely the right information can be found quickly and reused, shared and managed.

Describing information allows users to:

  • identify individual information objects
  • differentiate one information object from another
  • search for information they have created and saved
  • bring similar objects or items together

Describing information makes it possible for future users to:

  • find the information when they need it
  • understand why it was created, by whom and when
  • determine the controls under which it can be used

We can describe individual items and objects like a single document, a photograph, a film or an audio recording. We can also describe aggregations of information like data sets, records files, collections of pictures, or a crate full of soil samples. This descriptive information is called metadata. The most useful and relevant descriptive metadata for information and records management includes the use of:

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