Research Data Management: Metadata

What is metadata?

One element of data documentation is the description of the data, known as metadata. Metadata refers to the information used to describe an item's attributes in a standardised format e.g. the author's name and title of a book in a library catalogue.

Creating metadata will:

  • Aid resource discovery
  • Organise electronic resources
  • Promote interoperability
  • Provide digital identification
  • Support archiving and preservation.

Metadata can be made available without sharing the dataset

The Edina Data Centre has created a video which explains metadata through a range of examples.

Why create metadata?

Providing sufficient information and standardised descriptions to highlight the key aspects of the research data will:

  • Establish context
  • Improve visibility
  • Potentially increase citations

The use of controlled terms, or consistent and predefined terminologies for describing and organising information will:

  • Reduce ambiguity
  • Facilitate discovery and retrieval

Essential elements to consider when describing your data:


Additional highly desirable elements:


We would like to acknowledge the contribution made by Curtin University Library to this page.