Element metadata in the database
Saving graphics, text, or other map elements as database elements captures information, or metadata, about the element. This metadata is stored on the element in the map document and in the database element's ELM_ELEMENT table. Values for Last Modified, Increment, Editor, Creation Date, and ELM_ID are all captured when the element is saved to the database.
Element modifications, made from the element's property page or the page layout, will update the Editor and Last Modified metadata fields. Clicking OK on the property page always causes the metadata to update even if no properties have changed. Clicking Apply does not automatically refresh metadata field values. To view updated values, you must reopen the property page.
By comparing certain attribute values between the element in the map document and the element in the ELM_ELEMENT table, this information can be used to keep track of database elements. For example, you can compare the Last Modified values, which update every time an element is modified in the page layout, where a difference would signify that some change has been made to the element in the map document since it was inserted on the page layout. Or, you could compare the Increment values, which update every time an element is re-saved to the element library, which would signify that a newer version of the element is available in the element library.