Metadata Matters: Here’s Why

Tl,dr: Metadata to categorize, classify, and find the vast amounts of content produced and published every day. Only metadata guarantees some order, with the four million hours of videos uploaded to YouTube, the 67'305'600 Instagram posts, the 4.3 billion Facebook updates.

Every day four million hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube, 67'305'600 Instagram posts created, 4.3 billion Facebook updates posted. This content is created by 1,209,600 new "content producers" each day and every day. Content is made in the form of classic images and videos and in the less obvious way of text content; in the form of tweets, posts, and stories.

'Modern Artists' Create Content Faster Than You Can Think

The Internet, mostly the social platforms, have revived creative spirits thanks to their ease of use delivered in part via the form of simple helpers such as filters, image editors, and video editing tools. It's straightforward to recognize this fact, like every minute, 500 new users on social media create and publish content - they are the modern artist.

In the half-minute that you've spent reading the introduction to this blog, they've already uploaded 150 hours of video to YouTube - more than six days worth of content. There have also been 34,722 Instagram Posts published, and there are now 250 new social media' artists'.

All this new content has descriptions and hashtags, metadata that the user captures in each post. Users use the metadata to search for this post. Metadata is essential for individual posts and even more for business content because what a user doesn't find, a computer algorithm doesn't find either.

Metadata is the key to findability.

When you think of metadata, you might think of more technical information such as ID3 tags in your music library or EXIF data in your photo album.

However, metadata is everywhere and is integral to our daily online lives. Many people use it without even realizing it.

For example, all content creators on social media pay attention to correct metadata automatically without complaining about the tedious task. Here is an example from the company event of Picturepark Content Systems.

Description: Wine tasting, downhill scooter riding, and a scenic lake cruise... this year's Picturepark September excursion had it all! A big thanks to all those that helped make it happen.
Hashtags: #SwissMade #CompanyCulture #Biel

Users enter metadata in the form of free text description and hashtags. In addition, there is additional metadata available for each content:

Author: Published by Matthew Jones
Date: 23 September 2019 17:08

Improved Search Experience through Metadata and Context in Picturepark.

See Metadata in Action

Metadata gives context and additional content.

Based on the post’s metadata, the user knows that Picturepark Content Systems comes from Switzerland (#SwissMade) and cultivates an active (downhill scooter riding) corporate culture (#CompanyCulture), which also extends to wine tasting!

Metadata also helps to classify the content better and get ‘the big picture’ of what is seen and read. At any time, it would be possible to find this post again, but that’s dependant on remembering the context.


I immediately see other relevant content from people associated with Picturepark and other content that connects Picturepark to Aargau, a region of Switzerland.

Algorithms classify content based on metadata.

Algorithms also classify content based on tags and text. They then categorize this content as either relevant or irrelevant to different users.

When managing information: be it posts, images, documents, or other content, such metadata is crucial. In the case mentioned above of Picturepark, content must be accessible to all employees to ensure that content is original - i.e., it has not yet been published - or to reuse content to consistently present the company's image through the years and also to save time and money. After all, it is much easier to adapt information than to retrieve new information.

Metadata: a mix of structured and unstructured input?

As in the example, metadata should offer various possibilities. The input of free text - which is unstructured input as the user can write whatever she wants - is just as relevant as the input of tags (structured input as the user only selects from pre-specified options).

The tags should also provide additional information, which in turn enriches the content and enables semantic connections. Websites link to other websites for that purpose, posts on social media use hashtags for this kind of grouping.

The Picturepark Content Platform for managing digital content (Digital Content Management) saves time, nerves, and costs. The administration is centralized and independent. Picturepark guarantees the searchability of content without having to ask countless employees.

You can find out more about the concept of semantic linking here: