In the Java computer programming language, an annotation is a form of syntactic metadata that can be added to Java source code. Classes, methods, variables, parameters and Java packages may be annotated. Like Javadoc tags, Java annotations can be read from source files. Unlike Javadoc tags, Java annotations can also be embedded in and read from Java class files generated by the Java compiler. This allows annotations to be retained by the Java virtual machine at run-time and read via reflection. It is possible to create meta-annotations out of the existing ones in Java.