What is Metadata Management?

Metadata management is the administration of metadata for other types of data. It is a crucial component of data governance. During metadata management, organizations determine how to govern and maintain metadata and create rules, processes, and protocols for the use of metadata. The end goal is better metadata administration, where organizations successfully use metadata to locate data for reporting, analytics, and other processes. 

How Does Metadata Management Work?

Organizations manage metadata in different ways, combining it with other techniques such as Master Data Management (MDM). One of the most successful ways to manage metadata is to extract the data from various sources, transform it into readable formats, and load it to one destination for reporting and analysis. (A process called Extract, Transform, Load (ETL)). When metadata has undergone the ETL process, organizations can use it more effectively.

Tools like Xplenty extract raw metadata from sources such as data lakes, data warehouses, and other systems, transform it into the correct format for reporting, and load it into a centralized destination. This automates much of the process and allows even the smallest of organizations to manage metadata, even if they don't have data engineering or coding knowledge. (Xplenty, for example, requires no code whatsoever.) 

When is Metadata Management Used?

Metadata management lets organizations gather, organize, and maintain metadata from various sources. By doing this, organizations can:

  • Locate specific datasets much easier
  • Correct/update data
  • Delete damaged or duplicated data
  • Add context to raw data
  • Generate valuable insights from data
  • Improve data quality 


Organizations generate data every single day, but much of this data lacks context. Metadata provides meanings and connections to datasets, allowing organizations to locate and explore the data they require for projects.

Without metadata management, organizations might not be able to view relationships between data or draw conclusions about data. 

Metadata Types

In a metadata management context, there are two main types of metadata:

  • Technical metadata: Metadata that describes the technical features of IT systems, such as descriptions of tables, columns, and values.
  • Business metadata: Metadata that describes business processes, such as administrative functions. 

Metadata management governs technical and business metadata.