Metadata are structured information about data that help you understand your own data and help others discover, interpret, and cite your data.
Metadata provide context for data:
Metadata also assist with the management and use of data:
When creating metadata, use a standard where possible. Types of metadata standards include:
Some academic disciplines already have established metadata standards for datasets (e.g., Astronomy Visualization Metadata, Darwin Core, and Data Documentation Initiative). There are also general purpose metadata standards such as DataCite, Dublin Core, and Project Open Data.
Additionally, most data repositories require that your metadata follow a specific standard.
Consider one or more of the following methods for managing your metadata throughout your research project: