The Holistic Librarian – Thing 9: a date with meta…

Hi, I’m Afzal, your Subject Librarian for Arabic, and Politics.

Task 9: What is the importance of documenting research data and metadata? Where can you find useful information on data documentation and metadata?

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

I understood that Research Data Documentation to mean the same as creating Metadata. This is data about the data, helping the research creator with an organisational skeleton to keep track of progress themself and for others to know the research is or will be in the domain.

What I know now:

Creating metadata is highly emphasised and de rigueur. It’s as important as the research data itself. Rigorous standards mean greater impact because it means easy citability.Good metadata also allows other researchers to verify and repeat the experiments, for example. This has major ethical dimensions.

Universities now have webpages emphasising the importance of metadata:

E.g. MIT



A good introduction to the sine qua non of Metadata is found at the UK Data Archive site:

How did you obtain this knowledge?

Googling succeeded.

What else would you like to know about the topic?

Whether there’s a standard Exeter University toolkit for ensuring rigorous metadata is created.

How did you find this task? How would you improve it?

Straightforward and educative.

Posted under Holistic Librarian, Training

This post was written by Afzal Hasan on January 24, 2013

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2 Comments so far

  1. Hannah Lloyd-Jones January 29, 2013 09:54

    Hi Afzal,

    Thanks for this! At the moment there is no standard Exeter toolkit for creating metadata. The repository will require a minimum metadata set and we will provide some online guidance around metadata. One of the issues around metadata is that different disciplines need different types of information recorded in order for the data to be understood or reused, so recommendations will differ depending on the subject area/type of data.

    With best wishes,


  2. Hannah Lloyd-Jones January 29, 2013 13:15

    Also, this is a new and really useful resource:

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