descriptive metadata

n. Information that refers to the intellectual content of material and aids discovery of such materials.


Descriptive metadata allows users to locate, distinguish, and select materials on the basis of the material's subjects or 'aboutness.' It is distinguished from information about the form of the material, or its administration.


Puglia, Reed, and Rhodes 2004, p. 7 Descriptive metadata refers to information that supports discovery and identification of a resource (the who, what, when and where of a resource). It describes the content of the resource, associates various access points, and describes how the resource is related to other resources intellectually or within a hierarchy. In addition to bibliographic information, it may also describe physical attributes of the resource such as media type, dimension, and condition.