What is the difference between information fields and applications fields in WebCenter Content? This is a question I have seen posted to forums, and I have also been curious about myself.
Bex Huff posted a good explanation here:
Information fields appear automatically on the search/check-in pages, and get stored in the database as document metadata.
Application fields are used by apps that sit on top of UCM -- like records management and digital asset management. The fields do not get automatically stored as document metadata, but can be used to trigger additional behavior in the system upon check-in. You have to manually include them on a custom page, and write the custom java code to store the data... but it can be customized by your users like "normal" metadata fields.
Usually only advanced components use application fields... most times you can get away with just information fields.
The Oracle documentation has this to say about application fields:
Application fields are custom fields which you can create to use in custom components, HCSP files and HCSF files. Application fields allow you to use Content Server features, such as dependent choice lists, on forms. By default, these fields do not appear on the standard check in and search forms, but are used by custom templates.
Application fields have no stored value and are not indexed. They can be used as placeholders and in conjunction with schema views in order to enable dependent choice lists without creating an associated metadata field. See "Using Schemas to Customize Metadata" for details about schemas.
Note: Application fields can be displayed on the standard check in and search forms if set to do so in a content profile using the Add Rule Field Screen.
The Oracle documentation has this to say about information (metadata) fields:
For each content item, the system maintains a set of information about the content, or metadata. Metadata is similar to a card in a library's card catalog, while the actual files are similar to library books. As with the card catalog, metadata consists of information about a file (title, reference number, author, subject, publishing date, book location, and so forth).
When you perform a metadata search, only the metadata is searched, compared to a full-text search, which scans the entire content of the files.
Several standard metadata fields are predefined in the content server, and cannot be changed or deleted. In addition to these predefined fields, you can create new fields to increase functionality and to accommodate a site's design requirements. It is important to create only the required amount of additional metadata fields that are necessary to help locate a file.
As a general rule, set up metadata with the Configuration Manager application, and work with metadata for a specific revision with the Repository Manager application.
As you can see, both of these types of fields have their uses. However, for most use cases, information (metadata) fields should suffice.