Metadata is "data about data". Are there other words with similar meaning?
Metadata has no meaningful synonym in software development; it's the abstract term to refer to data that describe the context of another value. The words object, type, attribute, property, aspect, and schema all refer to metadata in some context. The elements of a web page, for example, are collectively referred to as the Document Object Model, or DOM for short. The DOM contains the order, type, reference name, display name, and value of each element in the page. Or, more generally, it's the metadata for a web page.
So I'm thinking what you really want is a more specific term than metadata, rather than a synonym for it.
I agree with all the answerers that metadata is the more general and useful terms and all other options are more restrictive or context-sensitive.
Other possible (but less general) terms not already proposed, and sometimes found in software, the general idea being that the collection of metadata on an object "x" can allow identification/disambiguation/research of "x" :
- Known facts about "x"
- General facts about "x"
- Information resources on "x"
- Identity card of "x"
- Pedigree of "x"
- Description of "x"
and a dozen more variants.
One can also remark that metadata is a bit barbaric. Didactic close-equivalent words would be
with the exact choice depending of the relation between the information and the subject of it. For instance peri is really "about" but in a more concrete way (think perimeter, delimiting the object), than meta, which has more often the meaning of "information of a higher level, of another kind, with precedence or pre-existence".
I checked various sources and I didn't found anything. I doubt there are synonyms meant as single words, probably there are expressions but I don't know if they are what you're looking for.
EDIT: I checked more and I found "Metacontent" from here.
Some alternatives in the technical vocabulary:
- data dictionary
- DTD (document type definition)
None of these have the aura of recursion about them, but they certainly do describe the format of data.
How about "data dictionary"?
In a software context, this is not describing the meaning of the data words; rather it is a repository describing the layout or format of the data.
Metadata is too limited. I like schema or shell. A shell for the file is part of the file but not the contents. The shell forms the contents of a file. Metadata and schema are contained in the electronic shell of a document. Apart of the document that describes and defines the form of the information within the shell.
This may not work well for your image-handling application, but the following terms crop up when you're talking about communication (i.e., messages):
- envelope information
- outside-of-the-envelope information
- wrapper information
- encapsulation information
- signal-related information (in contrast to content-related information)
... or, of course, you can substitute "data" for "information" in any of the above.
protected by user140086 Apr 21 '16 at 6:15
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