Vista uses it....
Sharepoint uses it....
and Revit is built on it, but doesn't use it like the others do.
So, metadata... parameters.... kinda the same thing at the end of the day. It just a way to input additional information to existing data - like adding length parameters. But the rest of the world is using the concept so much more effectively than our revit!
Take sharepoint for example. Or vista. You can add extra information to word files such as the date it was created and modified, who it was created by, what purpose it was created for, what star rating the document has, etc etc etc. You can then create separate views that can be filtered to only see documents created by a particular person, or on a particular date, or with a 5 star rating. Does the terminology sound familiar? Views. Filters. Data.
The only place that revit employs this technology for file management is when loading a family component that has an associated catalogue. You can filter out components with a particular value for each parameter, but its seriously dumb and ugly.
So. My proposal is that the factory allow users to create FAMILY PARAMETERS. We have instance and type parameters, but very dumb family parameters such as family category, family name, always upright, shared etc. We seriously need control of the next level up. This would allow users to essentially assign metadata to family files so that a detail component for a window jamb, for example, can be viewed under detail components as well as windows.
The factory could update the 'load from library' menu, and somehow link their family parameters to vista's and sharepoint's metadata. Family components can all sit in the same folder, eliminating the need to meticulously and correctly file each family because views can be filtered. So when loading families users can filter out everything but detail components, see who made it, when, additional notes, its category, etc.
Seriously smart data management using already existing revit techniques.