Module 3: Metadata

Report
Contextual Details Needed to
Make Data Meaningful to Others
Prepared by:
Liza Coburn, MBL-WHOI
John Furfey, MBL-WHOI
Alex May, Tufts
Alicia Morris, Tufts
Jen Walton, MBL-WHOI
CC BY-NC
Learning Objectives
1. Understand what metadata is
2. Understand why metadata is important
3. Identify applicable standards for
documenting and capturing metadata
4. Understand disciplinary practices associated
with the collection and sharing of metadata
5. Identify an approach to creating metadata
for a project
Module 3: Metadata
What is Metadata?
Metadata is structured information that
describes, explains, locates, or otherwise
makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage
an information resource. Metadata is often
called data about data or information about
information” (NISO, Understanding Metadata
2004;1).
Module 3: Metadata
You Must Have Metadata to:
• Find data from other researchers to
support your research;
• use the data that you do find;
• help other professionals to find and use
data from your research;
• use your own data in the future when you
may have forgotten details of the research.
Module 3: Metadata
Basic Types of Metadata
• Descriptive metadata
• Structural metadata
• Administrative metadata
Module 3: Metadata
How Metadata Facilitates
Discoverability and Reuse
• Accessibility
• Discoverability
Module 3: Metadata
Some Metadata Standards
Discipline
Metadata Standard
Biology
Darwin Core
Geography
Content Standard for Digital
Geographic Metadata (FGDC)
Ecology
Ecological Metadata Language (EML)
Agriculture
Ag Metadata Element Set (AgMES)
Earth sciences/climatology
Climate and Forecast (CF)
Physical sciences
Crystallographic Information
Framework
General data
Datacite
General for any type of resource
Dublin Core
Module 3: Metadata
Module 3: Metadata
Controlled Vocabularies
Eliminate Ambiguity
• Preferred spellings
– catalog vs. catalogue
• Scientific vs. popular terms
– parrots vs. psittacidae
• Preferred synonyms
– automatons vs. robots
Module 3: Metadata
Technical Standards
ISO 8601 technical standard:
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Year Only: YYYY (eg 1997)
Year and month: YYYY-MM (eg 1997-07)
Complete date: YYYY-MM-DD (eg 1997-07-16)
Media types can be problematic as well:
– The MIME media types helps you chose among the
following: Application, audio, example, image,
message, model, multipart, text, video
Module 3: Metadata
Media Types
The MIME media types:
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Application
Audio
Image
Model
Multipart
Message
Text
Video
Module 3: Metadata
General Metadata Elements
Title
Methodology
Creator
Data processing
Identifier
Sources
Subject
List of file names
Funders
File formats
Rights
File structure
Access Information
Variable list
Language
Code lists
Dates
Versions
Location
Checksums
Module 3: Metadata
Best Practices
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Consult a librarian!
Consistent data entry is important
Avoid extraneous punctuation
Avoid most abbreviations
Use templates and macros when possible
Extract pre-existing metadata
Keep a data dictionary
Always use an established metadata
standard
Module 3: Metadata
Activity
• Use the Dublin Core metadata elements to
create a metadata “record” for a data set
you are working with
• Use the Dryad Dublin Core record as a
guide.
Module 3: Metadata

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