Metadata is information about, and contained within, a document. It describes how, when and by whom the document was created, accessed, modified and formatted.

Metadata is frequently not viewable in the document without special effort. It is easily altered and destroyed inadvertently, and much or all of it is not reproduced if the document is imaged or printed. It serves an important purpose in document management, but is typically not relevant in litigation. But, like other electronic information, if relevant, its destruction could subject a party to sanctions.