Metadata is data about data. Metadata gives you data element definitions, data layouts, and information about the data element’s location. Data elements are the smallest unit of data that can be described, for example the zip code field within an address database record. The University’s data warehouse refers to their metadata as data dictionaries. You can access the data dictionaries on the IDEA web page . Click on the Information button, then click on the Data Element Dictionary for the database of your choice.