Metadata is not a new field by any stretch of the imagination. A standard history or economic paper will include a historiography which includes past writing on your topic of research. Most times a researcher will include an analysis of these former texts thus creating metadata.
In the current day the ability to create metadata is incredibly easy via tools available due to the digital age. This includes the making of algorithms to sort data or the use of programmes such as excel to simply sort data.
The importance of metadata is important for two key reasons. One it allows researchers to sort data and allows for empirical studies on data. The second and more addressed in the readings use, is a company being able to decipher preferences of its consumers. Although some may see this as an encroachment into ones personal life, the fact of the matter is that it allows for a more personalized consumer experience. This allows for a more efficient use of a consumers time, while also increasing the profit margins of any company making a customized experience through the use of metadata.