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Research Data Management (RDM)

Metadata Standards

Metadata, the information we create, store, and share to describe things, allows us to interact with these things to obtain the knowledge we need. The classic definition is literal, based on the etymology of the word itself—metadata is “data about data.” Metadata is often created, stored, and acted upon largely as though it is data in and of itself.

To learn more about the different types of metadata, read the National Information Standards Organization's Primer: "Understanding Metadata: What is Metadata and What is it for?"

Tools for Creating Metadata

Discipline Standard Tools
General Research Data
Dublin Core
Social Sciences
Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)
Ecology, Geosciences, & Biology Ecological Metadata Language (EML) - note DarwinCore is also common but no tool seems to exist to create metadata in this standard
  • see all EML tools
  • Morpho: standalone tool (all platforms), creates metadata, edit data, upload both to the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity
Geographic ISO 19115-2014

This table inspired by Oregon State University Libraries' guide on Metadata/Documentation


Grateful acknowledgement to the University of Pennsylvania Penn Libraries for their permission to use and modify their template: Data Management Resources

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