Information retrieval is one of the basic processes of accessing and using information. Storage and processing data, communication between people, and access to the data are impossible without the representation of its properties. These descriptions are necessary for users and software to interpret the content. Its creation often requires considerable efforts and significant costs. This paper aims to observe metadata and its role in IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
What is Metadata?
In the context of digital communication, metadata are information which is sent and received in the form of messages such as topics of emails, the length of messages, and a person’s location in the communication process (Guo & Zhang, 2013). In other words, metadata are the transmitted information except the content of communications. Although institutions that collect metadata, in particular, the governments and telecommunications companies claim that the disclosure of metadata poses no threat, these statements are baseless because even a small sample of metadata may reveal sensitive personal information. Obviously, metadata can speed up the process of international access to information, as it can be submitted in a language other than the language of the object. For this reason, in many countries, the police can get details of phone calls much easier than, for example, permission for telephone tapping.
In fact, metadata can be viewed as information about other information regarding their properties and characteristics. These characteristics help automatically search for, manage large information flows, and improve information retrieval making it more accessible for a researcher. Commonly, they distinguish three of the most frequently used types of metadata such as internal, administrative, and descriptive (Kassner, 2013). Thus, the components or structures of things help in IR (Information Retrieval). Obviously, administrative metadata look for the purpose of things, for example, information about publication, the date of issue, and so on. However, descriptive metadata require knowing the nature of things, e.g. its origin and the relationship with other sources. Furthermore, experts classify metadata into three categories: (a) contents, (b) relation to the source, and (c) respect to inference capabilities (Hanjalic, 2012). Therefore, metadata facilitate the process of managing and searching for information via web pages, electronic documents, and paper files.
The Creation of Metadata
Not many people know that researchers started to use metadata long before the advent of computer systems, and prior to the introduction of this term in the scientific and technical vocabulary. However, with the advent of programming languages and technologies, the term “metadata” did not still exist. In the earliest documentary information retrieval systems, each document was submitted by searching a way that could identify and replace it for the user’s requests (Halvey & Jose, 2012). Nowadays, every researcher knows that a searching image of the original document is its metadata. For instance, text content in electronic library catalogs, bibliographic descriptions, annotations, and headings serve as metadata. The emergence of hypertext technology and the World Wide Web (www) has encouraged users to describe hypertext markup in the hypertext systems and webpages. I believe that the set of markup tags is the metadata of such resources. Therefore, there is a need for metadata in electronic libraries as it describes the content as a whole, and collecting information resources.
The awareness of the need for metadata has led to the creation of specific tools to manage these information resources. The literature assert that the first attempts to manage metadata were made in 1970 when the data dictionary guide was proposed (Guo & Zhang, 2013). However, the development of information technologies has led to a further substantial expansion of metadata functions and their diversity. The practice has shown that metadata tools are considerably developed at information and other computer systems. Admittedly, its content, functions, and means of representation depend on the type of information technology, functional possibilities of systems, the nature of the described resources, context and nature of their use, as well as other factors. For this reason, metadata becomes a target for many studies in the last two decades. All these cause activities in standardization, which are engaged in international standards bodies, consortia of industrial, scientific, and other communities.
Internal Revenue Service
Metadata can be used not only to support system functions but also to inform users about the properties of information resources and services that provide access to different resources. The Internal Revenue Service, which is a U. S. federal organization, determines and collects all federal taxes levied on individuals and legal entities (Ray, 2014). This service provides metadata and computing services for analysts who control tax administration. CDW (Compliance Data Warehouse) managers help users to find and understand data. Metadata, which involves over 5000,000 separate attributes and 25,000 unique columns, represents the overall user experience (Ray, 2014). SAS (Statistical Analysis System) logs exist to maintain the integrity of database transactions with further validation in a staging website. Thus, IRS researchers can easily retrieve and analyze metadata to support their professional needs.
Although CDW consists of data, tools, and computing services, the IRS research is based on tax data. For instance, metadata help study new trends, find compromises, file delinquencies, track distributional characteristics of revenue collected from tax, estimate tax gaps, stimulate the introduction of new tax policies, estimate taxpayer burden, and some other parameters (Kassner, 2013). Moreover, metadata help identifies compliance risks and abusive tax schemes. Hanjalic (2012) reported that metadata is critical to determining the quality of data and understanding its meaning.
The Resources Described by Metadata
The synopsis of the paper applies that metadata was introduced to describe their properties and identify information retrieval. However, the advent of new technology requires analyzing this concept from a broader angle because over time, the description of characteristics, which become necessary in modern computer systems, significantly expanded. I believe that due to this, it becomes necessary to describe the properties of the systems, ensuring their storage, access and retrieval, and processing characteristics of users. Obviously, according to different studies, to intensify IR, it is also important to describe the needs and different ontology domains, web services, and their interfaces, computer equipment, scientific instruments, and other devices (Halvey & Jose, 2012). Moreover, it is worth mentioning that metadata contribute to the development of software systems and processes of their functioning and help describe various kinds of limitations.
Although governments are one of the largest owners of information resources, the citizens, businesses, government officials, and users worldwide, usually rely on personal abilities to increase the value of these resources. I believe that the government should provide better search capabilities, the access, and transmission of information between the public and private sectors while maintaining the requirements of private use and confidentiality of information. Thus, it seems that the presence of a well-structured and consistently applied metadata standard has become more important for governments today than ever before. Consequently, standardization can help people search a web page with necessary information. Since metadata improves the granularity of search tasks within the data volume, researchers can search engines on the Web and work more effectively and efficiently.
The importance of metadata is already well recognized. I believe that researchers can use metadata to implement an appropriate strategy. Consequently, it can improve information retrieval because metadata is a valuable tool for managing resource records. Although metadata is not a universal tool for data management, researchers can intensify IR and significantly improve the quality of data analysis. I am sure that metadata is one of the basic information processes that maintains information retrieval.
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