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In the database, we have data fields that fetch the real data points like student names and other supportive fields like primary_key, foreign_key, created_at and update_at which are used for fetching and shaping the data, so what should we call the other supportive data points? can we call them metadata?

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For variables that used in the model (or have potential usage in the model), people usually call them "features" (in machine learning community) or "independent variables" (in statistics community).

For columns you mentioned such as name, created at, modified at. We may not use them in the model, but for some reference. We still can call them features, but it is more common to call them "columns" or "fields", or "attributes" in general.

The term "metadata" means the data about the data. For example, the data set size, and data set time range etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ The term dependent variable is dying very slowly in statistics. Those who dislike it have various grounds: it is overloaded in mathematics generally; it is too easily confused with independent variable (if you don't believe that, try teaching or following statistics questions in the internet); it is not sufficiently evocative, But no alternative seems to attract a consensus, although they include response, outcome, output, regressand, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 18, 2020 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox , Ha, I was trying to say independent variable. I think dependent variable means output or response variable ... Thanks for your comments. $\endgroup$
    – Haitao Du
    Feb 18, 2020 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ Unwittingly you made my point for me. No harm done.... $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 18, 2020 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ "columns" and "fields" are primarily in my mind spreadsheet-speak and database-speak respectively, which doesn't stop them spilling into statistical discussions. I won't try to speak for machine learning, as very many people are better qualified to do that. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 18, 2020 at 9:54

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