When a data set is included in a data archive (ingest) it is inspected to verify whether the data set has been defined adequately. The key question is: does a (future) user have sufficient information to understand what the data set implies?
Both the creator and the data manager can assign so-called metadata. By assigning metadata it becomes easier to find, recognise, (re)use or link a source of information to other sources of information.
(Also refer to the section Data documentation and metadata).
Various disciplines apply their own metadata schedules and standards (see box). Which metadata fields are mandatory or desirable may vary per file. Both DANS and 4TU.Centre for Research Data use Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)(1) as the standard for metadata. Dublin Core is easy to use and it is used worldwide. As a result, it is easy to link metadata to other files and automatically search through them, which increases the familiarity of the data. The underlying data itself, however, cannot be searched.
The metadata in 4TU.Centre for Research Data are available in so-called RDF-format. RDF is a general standard that allows you to easily connect data deriving from several sources. RDF makes it possible to use existing metadata schedules like Dublin Core and combine these with other metadata schedules. Dublin Core is a collection of the actual metadata fields and with RDF you can make the connections.
If a researcher is planning to deposit his data in an archive, it is advisable to define the metadata fields at an early stage. This will prevent him from having to add the documentation or metadata afterwards.