Research at Risk

Coordination of Metadata Strategies?

Some info on metadata standards being used by JISCMRD projects is available on the commonalities spreadsheet.

There was a breakout group at the Programme Launch Workshop on metadata standards: for blogged accounts of this session, see and

The Metadata Breakout Group came up with some actions, though these are reported a little differently on the two blogged accounts…:

  1. Louise [Corti] would take a first pass at a grid template and send this round for comment
  2. Projects working in similar domains to consult each other about the use of metadata, early on
  3. Simon [Hodson] to organise a Programme meeting to be held in early Spring 12 to discuss metadata further and gain some agreement.


  • Trying to locate (or otherwise collect) an already existing registry of metadata standards for different disciplines, in order to offer researchers from a given discipline an already tested metadata schema they can re-use,
  • Mapping metadata standards to each other aiming to produce a minimum-sufficient-information metadata set that may be widely applicable accross disciplines,
  • Taking steps towards organising a workshop in order to have metadata issues discussed among relevant stakeholders. ANDS Metadata Workshop in 2010 might be a potential source of inspiration for this with all those discipline-based approaches to metadata standards. Proposed dates for this Metadata WS were spring-summer 2012.

Louise has sent me a template, and I confess – mea culpa – that it got buried for the time being. It is now available as JISCMRD Projects’ Metadata Usage.  It would be good if projects working in similar domains could build on this to share information about standards being used.  We should explore whether there is already an existing registry of metadata standards for different disciplines?  Does anyone know of such a thing?

I think it is very important for the programme as a whole develop convergence upon ‘a minimum-sufficient-information metadata set that may be widely applicable accross disciplines’ which may be used by the projects.  To work towards this end, there will be a programme workshop on aligning JISCMRD projects’ metadata strategies. I plan to organise this for May.

5 replies on “Coordination of Metadata Strategies?”

Sounds like a very useful workshop. Are you thinking of a trans-disciplinary registry or a catalogue of disciplinary registries? The latter might be easier to sustain, and something we aspire to in the DCC ‘tools and services’ catalogue, which we are currently reshaping. For example does an excellent job of summarising standards in the biosciences and (relatedly) the ISA approach of defining a hierarchy of ‘information-study-assay’ characteristics seems broadly adaptable to other domains. One challenge is to relate domain standards to those developed by related industries or communities, and to others that have cross-disciplinary purposes (e.g. preservation) and serve specific functions (e.g. controlled vocabularies). Sarah Higgins at Aberystwyth reminded of one resource that illustrates that very well. It’s by Jenn Riley of Indiana University Library and illustrates standards for domains relating to cultural heritage (

Thanks for the comment, Angus.

You ask: ‘Are you thinking of a trans-disciplinary registry or a catalogue of disciplinary registries?’

I think this remains to be determined. The objective is to work towards something that bests allows researchers to find and reuse datasets created in UK Universities. We are conscious that many datasets may not have a disciplinary home and therefore that a platform allowing cross searching may be needed (along the lines of Research Data Australia

I would be interested in knowing more about where DCC thinking has moved on this. My notes from the F2F Meeting in January record an action to ‘design and scope a feasibility study for a research data metadata registry to assist data discovery’.



Have any other MRD projects got advice on the issue of research data ‘status’ in any of their cataloguing schemas?

Somethin to record:
in process/analysed
public/available on request/private/destroyed

Is this referred to as a digital provenance element?
Is it in METS?



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