Metadata means, simply, data about data. In the context of research data management, metadata refers to both data documentation, and to structured information that conforms to a metadata standard.
Metadata structures are often referred to as schemas. A schema is a logical plan which shows the relationships between metadata elements. The completed metadata are often reported in a machine-readable language such as XML.
Most data repositories require that your project metadata follows a specific standard. A widely-used, general purpose metadata standard is the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. This standard defines fifteen properties used to describe data:
- Contributor - An entity responsible for making contributions to the resource.
- Coverage - The spatial or temporal topic of the resource, the spatial applicability of the resource, or the jurisdiction under which the resource is relevant.
- Creator - An entity primarily responsible for making the resource.
- Date - A point or period of time associated with an event in the life cycle of the resource.
- Description - An account of the resource.
- Format - The file format, physical medium, or dimensions of the resource.
- Identifier - An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.
- Language - A language of the resource.
- Publisher - An entity responsible for making the resource available.
- Relation - A related resource.
- Rights - Information about rights held in and over the resource.
- Source - A related resource from which the described resource is derived.
- Subject - The topic of the resource.
- Title - A name given to the resource
- Type - The nature or genre of the resource