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Open Data & Data Management

What is Metadata?

  • Metadata is the data that you use to describe and document the research data you have collected.  It contains descriptive elements such as title, subject, format, location, access rights.
  • Essential for discovering and re-using data. Without proper documentation data sets are useless to future researchers.
  • Consists of a set of predefined elements that describe specific attributes of a resource
  • Important part of your data management plan.  Establish a metadata strategy  in the beginning of a research project.
  • A number of metadata standards available – Digital Curation Center lists metadata standards by discipline.

Metadata Guides & Standards

A metadata standard or schema is a set group of elements that have been standardized for a particular field. Additionally, some data repositories also have their own standards. If there is not a standard already in place for your data, there are several general purpose schemas that you can adapt to your needs.


Map of metadata standardsDublin Core (DC)Metadata Object Description SchemaText Encoding Initiative (TEI)Visual resources Association Core (VRA)Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)ISO 19115Ecology Metadata Language (ELM)Directory Interchange Format (DIF)Standard for the Exchange of Earthquake Data (SEED)Darwin CoreIntegrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)












Creative Commons License
Metadata Concept Map by Amanda Tarbet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.