My Intro to Data Management: Managing Education Meta Data & Para Data

What is meta and para data?

The meta data and para data boiled down to one statement:
  • Paradata involves ‘action’ and
  • metadata involves ‘classification

Meta data – In principle Use

For the sake of simplicity I’m going to referring to meta data application. Meta data in principe is the data that provides information about other data, but not the content of the data, such as the text of a message or the image itself.

The text, Data Documentation Initiative: Towards a Standard for the Social Sciences, summarizes why standardization of documentation within the social sciences can lead to real advantages for secondary researcher. I think it offered a framework for in-school driven education data management standard adoption. It discusses the role of metadata in research and the advantages to using the DDI metadata standard, & encouraging the adoption of DDI in the larger social science research community. The text goes on to discusses the pros of DDI, the methodology and how there is a lack of usage by researchers because it doesn’t fit into their workflow and they don’t see the value. They idea of efficient data entry and reliable schools data year over year is also a workflow problem. Researchers have found that computer assisted data collection tools can alleviate the inefficiency of DDI. I believe computer assisted tools could also support the adoption of DDI, or other forms of data entry that increases data validity and reliability.

Implications + Potential Impact of Effective Meta data management

DDI does bring a lot of features to the table that can enhance research and evidence based schooling. The main one being metadata reuse and comparison, the reuse of data is an accepted norm, but now it’s applied to metadata. This eliminates costly redundancies and supports explicit comparison with like datasets.

I imagine my research leading to reform in my community, having that data and metadata accessible to others to replicate in their communities much more quickly can lead to an acceleration of grass-root reform based in research. This goes back to the benefit described in the DDI text of “fostering evidence-based policy making.” (Vardigan, Heus, & Thomas, 2008)

Types of Meta data

  • Creative
    • ID, Name, File Size, Tags
  • Experience
    • Web page, Content, Images, Mobile App
  • Campaigns
    • Names Placement, Ad Group, Objective
  • Products
    • SKU, Name, Category
  • People
    • Team, Channel, Group, Business Unit, Agency, Unit

Department of Education. (2011). Paradata in 20 minutes or less. V 1.1. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from The Digital Curation Sustainability Model (DCSM US Department of Education),

Vardigan, M., Heus, P., & Thomas, W. (2008). Data documentation initiative: Toward a standard for the social sciences. International Journal of Digital Curation, 3(1), 107–113. doi:10.2218/ijdc.v3i1.45
UK Data Archive. (2002). UK data archive - CATALOGUE METADATA. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from

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