Document and describe

Please aim to create a dataset you wish you had received.

Metadata is “data about data“. Research data file metadata includes elements such as title, file format, language, creator, and date.

Metadata standards vary, but many data repositories, disciplines and organizations have developed specific metadata standards. For example:

  • Darwin Core describes biological diversity by providing reference definitions, examples, and commentaries
  • DDI (Data Documentation Initiative) describes data in the social and behavioural sciences
  • CASRAI (Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information) describes research administration information


The UK Digital Curation Centre (DCC) maintains a comprehensive list of metadata standards to help you find the most appropriate standard for your research data:


If you are deciding which metadata standard to use, consult your subject librarian


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