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Metadata serves many important purposes, including:
Metadata can be organized into several levels ranging from a simple listing of basic information about available data to detailed documentation about an individual data set. At a fundamental level, metadata may support the creation of an inventory of the data holdings of a state or local government agency. Metadata is also important in the creation of a spatial data clearinghouse, where potential users can search to find the data they need for their intended application. At a more detailed level, metadata may be considered as insurance. Metadata insures that potential data users can make an informed decision about whether data are appropriate for the intended use. Metadata also insures that the data holdings of the Manitoba Government are well documented and that the government is not vulnerable to losing all the knowledge about our data when key employees retire or accept other jobs.