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Re: Metadaten

Ich habe folgende E-mail von der Liste Autocat (3.3.1999) gespeichert. Weitergeleitet mit Erlaubnis von Stu Weibel.
Vgl. <http://www.metadata.com/>, "What is metadata?" klicken, dann "The Mark vs. the word".

The following message was distributed over the DC-GENERAL (that's DC as in Dublin Core) list on Thursday, Feb. 25. Seeing its relevance to the
current AUTOCAT discussion on the usage and trade-marking of the term
'metadata' I asked for and received permission from Stu Weibel of OCLC to forward it to AUTOCAT.
--Judith Hopkins

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 10:08:32 -0500
From: "Weibel,Stu" <weibel _at__ oclc.org>
To: "'dc-general _at__ mailbase.ac.uk'" <dc-general _at__ mailbase.ac.uk>
Cc: "'100342.251 _at__ compuserve.com'" <100342.251 _at__ compuserve.com>
Subject: History of the term 'metadata'

Dear Metafolk,

I have had a correspondence with Frans Van Assche that I think has
historical interest for us, and he has kindly permitted me to forward this note to the list. It particularly tickled me to see that from the
beginning, the notion of meta-meta was recognized as a threat to clarity.

Many thanks to Frans and his colleagues for reminding us that our history goes back further than a few weeks.



Dear Stu,

My old friends (we are all older than fifty now:-) have come up with some information about the term meta-data:

1. Dr. T.W. Olle thinks that the term metadata was first used by Peter
King who wrote a seminal paper on data dictionary work sometime in the late sixties. However the oldest reference we could find (credit to prof. dr. Hannu Kangassalo of the University of Tampere) is the following:

Sundgren,B. An Infological Approach to Data Bases. URVAL No.7, Statistiska Centralbyrån, Stockholm, 1973. Ph.D. dissertation. page 104 - 105:

"3.2.5 Metainformation

As was pointed out in section 2.1, the infological approach to data bases stresses the distinction between:

(a)     the real-world phenomena that we are interested in, the object

(b) information about the the object system

(c) data representing information about the object system


.... Accordingly, the data base should contain quality information and other information about the information contents of the data base. We shall refer to such information as 'information on information'. Information on information is made up by messages, the object components of which are themselves messages.

Information on information is one important category of meta-information.
The latter concept also covers

- information about the basic constituents of the particular
infological model underlaying [i.e. underlying] the data base; example: formal and informal definitions of attributes and object types

-       information about the data representation of the information
contents of the data base; example file descriptions.

Remark. Data representation of meta-information will be called meta-data.
Sub-systems of data bases containing mata-information and data
representation thereof may be called meta-data-bases.

Remark. If we exclude from the object system the phenomena informed about meta-information and represented by meta data, we are left with a
sub-system of the object system which we shall now and then refer to as
'the object system proper'."

2. The oldest implementation of a proper metadatabase we could trace
(credit Prof. Dr. Meersman and myself) is in the EDMS database management System developed by the Data Management Research Lab of Control Data Corporation. Ref: User Manual van EDMS v.5, Control Data Corporation, Brussels, 1978.

Note: earlier versions of this manual may exist.

I remember the term metadata and metadatabase was used in our lab from the mid 70s.

3. Dr. T.W. Olle concurs that  the term was in use in the seventies. He
adds "However, we (the UK delegates) discouraged its use because it was
confusing once you start talking about meta-meta data and meta-meta-meta
data  and it is not to be found in the standards on Information Resource
Dictionary Systems."

4. My personnel recollection is that already in the seventies it was a
standard term in the database research community and especially in the
Northern part of continental Europe: Scandinavia, Benelux, Germany, which was at that time leading in information modelling methods.

Best regards,

Frans Van Assche [100342.251 _at__ compuserve.com]

Birgit Fischer (Statistisches Bundesamt, I D) wrote:
Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,
Ich arbeite gerade einen Vortrag zum Thema Metadaten aus und möchte auch
einen historischen Rückblick geben. Ich habe bisher einige Publikationen
aus den 90er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts. Dort wird der Begriff aber
schon so selbstverständlich verwendet, dass ich die Vermutung habe, die
Verwendung ist älter. Ich bin also auf der Suche nach der ersten
Verwendung des Begriffs Metadaten bzw. Metadata im engl.-amerikan.
Sprachraum bzw. nach dessen ErfinderIn. Leider kann ich für den ältesten Beleg keinen Preis ausloben, wie das
die Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache hier in Wiebaden bei solchen
Gelegenheiten tut, hoffe aber doch auf einige Hinweise.
Besten Dank im Vorraus
Birgit Fischer

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