Metadata records are a ubiquitous and foundational feature of contemporary information systems. However, while their simple surface structure may lead us to think that the semantics of a metadata record is unproblematic and easily discerned, our analysis of an example record suggests otherwise. We show three possibilities for the logical form of the proposition expressed by a metadata record. All three are substantially different in the first order constructs utilized, and no two can be recognized as equivalent for the purposes of information organization. The semantics of the common metadata record is elusive. The main source of this problem appears to be the identifier attribute. Although identifier attributes have the syntactic appearance of any other attribute in the metadata vocabulary, this uniformity conceals their potential for assuming a distinctive semantic role, and one which appears to cross the traditional object language / metalanguage boundary, suggesting that translation of colloquial metadata records into logic-based knowledge representations does not take place entirely at a first-order level.