Journal of Data and Information Science ›› 2017, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (3): 19-36.doi: 10.1515/jdis-2017-0012

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Big Metadata, Smart Metadata, and Metadata Capital: Toward Greater Synergy Between Data Science and Metadata

Jane Greenberg ()   

  1. College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
  • Online:2017-08-23 Published:2017-08-25


Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to provide a framework for addressing the disconnect between metadata and data science. Data science cannot progress without metadata research. This paper takes steps toward advancing the synergy between metadata and data science, and identifies pathways for developing a more cohesive metadata research agenda in data science.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper identifies factors that challenge metadata research in the digital ecosystem, defines metadata and data science, and presents the concepts big metadata, smart metadata, and metadata capital as part of a metadata lingua franca connecting to data science.

Findings: The “utilitarian nature” and “historical and traditional views” of metadata are identified as two intersecting factors that have inhibited metadata research. Big metadata, smart metadata, and metadata capital are presented as part of a metadata lingua franca to help frame research in the data science research space.

Research limitations:There are additional, intersecting factors to consider that likely inhibit metadata research, and other significant metadata concepts to explore.

Practical implications: The immediate contribution of this work is that it may elicit response, critique, revision, or, more significantly, motivate research. The work presented can encourage more researchers to consider the significance of metadata as a research worthy topic within data science and the larger digital ecosystem.

Originality/value: Although metadata research has not kept pace with other data science topics, there is little attention directed to this problem. This is surprising, given that metadata is essential for data science endeavors. This examination synthesizes original and prior scholarship to provide new grounding for metadata research in data science.

Key words: Metadata research, Data science, Big metadata, Smart metadata, Metadata capital