Metadata is the summary of basic information about data, knowing this information makes it easier to identify certain parts of the data. E.g. Author, date created and date modified and file size are examples of very basic document metadata. Having this particular set of information makes it easier to locate specific documents. To encourage the reuse and preservation of digital objects, metadata schemas have been developed and put in place to support the different types of metadata.
Aston University's Research Data Management Policy states in regards to metadata:
Research funders require researchers to make their metadata open and freely available to the public, complicated datasets should be described to allow reuse and accessibility. For example, the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) have outlined what they deem to be appropriate in regards to the creation of metadata.
Key elements of metadata:
• Subject descriptors
• Creator(s) (Creator of the dataset; main researchers involved)
• File format
• Storage location of the data (including identifier information)
• Origin of the data (creation/acquisition of the data)
• Time references for the data (key dates associated with the data: start, end, release, etc.)
• Access conditions
E.g. Below are some expectations EPSRC have in relation to the creation of metadata
For more information on metadata documentation and standards, see UK Data Archive.
Below are some subject specific metadata standards, the metadata standards you decide to adopt will depend on funder requirements and which discipline your research is conducted through.
Managing and Exchanging Research Data: