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Metadata is structured information that makes it easier to understand information. The term metadata is used differently in different communities. In the library environment, metadata is commonly used for describing any thing of interest (book, journal, picture, CD), digital or non-digital, that may be held by a library as a resource in their catalogue of resources.
For the national metadata registries, metadata is structured information that describes data about aspects of the systems (health care, housing, welfare, disability) the user community manages and for which they want to compare and share information.
Yes generally the three main types of metadata:
For further information read Understanding metadata, NISO Press 2004.
The national metadata registries contain structural and administrative metadata. The registries hold information about metadata that are relevant and important to the user community's interests for which they want to compare and share information.
Metadata allows users to understand the meaning of items of information. These items may, when compared across the community of users, then be interpreted in the same way. This provides for consistency and aids analysis.
Metadata that are relevant and important to the user community are defined, created, updated, transformed, and migrated using an international standard for metadata definition and management. This standard is the International Organisation for Standardisation/International Electrotechnical Commission ISO/IEC11179:2003 Information Technology - Metadata Registries. It has six parts. The standard was used to modify and develop the electronic document management system known as METeOR - the online metadata registry system.
All national health, housing and community services metadata available from METeOR, are registered under the authority of the respective ministerial advisory council of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
For each community of interest (for example the health sector or housing sector) usually there is an intergovernmental agreement for information sharing. For the health care sector this agreement is called the National Health Information Agreement (NHIA). These agreements are reviewed on a five year cycle. The NHIA spells out the terms and conditions for which information will be collected, shared and metadata registered. It also defines the roles and responsibilities of the committees and forums for agreeing health information, including metadata, standards.
Each sector has its own business process which is generally managed by one or more secretariats. Submissions are made according to a set of business rules. These are available from the respective secretariats.
For the health sector, submission can be made via the Secretariat for the National Health Information Standards and Statistics Committee (NHISSC).
For the community services sector, submission can be made via the Secretariat for the National Community Services Information Management Group (NCSIMG).