Metadata is structured information about an object. It is a way to make the content of digital files findable and accessible. It can also be used to keep track of digitization, preservation and administrative information.
As part of creating digital collections you will be identifying your own metadata guidelines and ideally creating documentation for these. This will help guide and clarify the work of creating metadata for your collections and most importantly will help to make your digital collections discoverable and understandable. There are many great example of guidelines and best practices online - see the sidebar for some examples.
It is a common practice for digital collections is to use descriptive metadata with the addition of a couple administrative metadata fields: rights, digital file format and often a URL identifier. You can use metadata fields to keep track of digitization, preservation or other administrative information but these would not be shared publicly because they do not enhance access or use.