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3.1 Considerations in the Design of Nami... > 3.1.2 Metadata and Name Overloading - Pg. 120

120 CHAPTER 3 The Design of Naming Schemes 3.1.2 Metadata and Name Overloading The name of an object and the context reference that should be associated with it are two examples of a class of information called metadata--information that is useful to know about an object but that cannot be found inside the object itself (or if it is inside may not be easy to find). A library bibliographic record is a collection of meta- data, including title, author, publisher, publication date, date of acquisition, and shelf location of a book, all in a standard format. Libraries have a lot of experience in dealing with metadata, but failure to systematically organize metadata is a design shortcoming frequently encountered in computer systems. Some common examples of metadata associated with an object in a computer system are a user-friendly name, a unique identifier, the type of the object (execut- able program, word processing text, video stream, etc.), the dates it was created, last modified, and last backed up, the location of backup copies, the name of its owner, the program that created it, a cryptographic quality checksum (known as a witness-- see Sidebar 7.1 [on-line]) to verify its integrity, the list of names of who is permitted to read or update the object, and the physical location of the representation of the object. A common, though not universal, property of metadata is that it is information about an object that may be changed without changing the object itself.