Metadata is structured and descriptive information about an item or object. It is a standardized way to explain the who, what, where, when and how of data creation and methods. Metadata and other documentation enable the researcher to understand their data in detail and enables other researchers to discover, use and properly cite the item or object. Metadata standards have been created to facilitate the description of research data using a defined set of elements. And some disciplines have preferred metadata standards.
Data repositories may have specific metadata standard requirements that must be met in order to deposit data. If you intend to deposit your data in a subject- or discipline-specific repository, check their deposit and metadata requirements before including the repository in your data management plan.
Common Metadata Standards
- Dublin Core (used my the Mines institutional repository): a general standard, can be adapted for specific disciplines
- FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee): used by many Federal agencies for geospatial data; some tools are available
- MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema): richer than Dublin Core and can be used for a variety of purposes
- PREMIS (preservation metadata)
- METS (both descriptive and technical rights and some preservation fields included)
- DIF (Directory Interchange Format): for earth science data