Metadata is data and or information which describe data. It is usually referred to as ‘data about data’ as it provides
data users with information about the purpose, processes and methods used in the collection of the data. It includes
developing, harmonizing and standardizing structures and frameworks in the context of statistical information processing
and dissemination all in an effort to harmonize the statistical terminology and definitions.
All aspects of data collection; from the design stage through to the dissemination and communication stage should be provided
in metadata. It allows the user to make more informed decisions as to the use of the data.
The approach used to collect and produce the statistics usually influences the ways the data is used for different statistical
Common and basis components of metadata include graph labels and footnotes. Additional details are usually found in the
explanatory notes which would provide the user of the data with concepts, sources and methods among other attribute of the
The ASD attempts where possible to use the Data and Metadata Reporting and Presentation Handbook as documented by the OECD,
which provides detail information, with respect to the content and format of the metadata based on the statistical product.
Metadata provides information to enable the user to make an informed decision about whether the data are fit for the required
purpose; its limitations and strengths.