Metadata as Standard: Improving interoperability through the Research Data Alliance


Alexander Ball (2017), ‘Metadata as Standard: Improving interoperability through the Research Data Alliance’, in Webinar@AIMS.

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In order to do anything meaningful with data, you need metadata. Metadata is structured information that helps you to work with data, but your structures may not match the structures used by others. That can make it harder to communicate your data, making it less findable, accessible, assessable and reusable.

To avoid these problems, many communities have established metadata standards, but these are only effective if people know about them and use them. The Research Data Alliance has therefore developed a catalogue of metadata standards and tools aimed at researchers and those who support them.

In a first phase of work, the Metadata Standards Directory Working Group (MSDWG) took the UK Digital Curation Centre's Disciplinary Metadata Catalogue as its base and updated and extended the information contained within it. The group then migrated the information in the DCC directory to a new directory hosted on GitHub. In the second phase, the Metadata Standards Catalog Working Group (MSCWG) refined use cases collected in the first phase, using them to specify the functionality for a new version of the directory. This new version, the Metadata Standards Catalog, will provide much greater detail about metadata standards and tools, and through its new API will be usable within other applications. It will also provide a platform for furthering the work of the Metadata Interest Group, which is seeking to improve the interoperability of metadata in different standards by working towards semi-automatically generated converters.


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