Subject RE: [ib-support] Metadata
Author Alan McDonald
I'm afraid the Oxford English Dictionary disagrees with you


-----Original Message-----
From: Helen Borrie [mailto:helebor@...]
Sent: Tuesday, 11 February 2003 2:52 PM
Subject: RE: [ib-support] Metadata

At 02:34 PM 11/02/2003 +1100, you wrote:
>Sorry Helen,
>But when data is the plural of datum ("a reference from which inference may
>be drawn") it is a plural noun. When data refers to "facts or information"
>is is also treated as a singular noun.

But "data" is plural. One datum, many data. I agree people use it as if
it were a singular noun. But think of this:

a date is a "datum", or a "piece of data" or a "data item". It is not a
"data" and nobody uses it that way.

Careless speakers/writers (myself included, at times) will say "This data
is.." when they mean "This piece of data is..." or "These data
are..." Careless usage doesn't make it right. I write a lot of technical
documentation and I am always careful to treat "data" and "metadata" as
plural. American and Australian editors tend to be sloppy about it. New
Zealand, British and European editors are more particular...

Similarly, "schema" is singular. A database has one schema, two databases
have two schemata...I said the terms "metadata" and "schema" were often
used interchangeably. However, they are different styles of noun. In this
context, "metadata" is used as if it were a group noun, like "electorate"
or "river catchment". However, you can have multiple electorates, river
catchments or schemata. You can't have multiple metadatas.


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