Metadata IG


Group details

Case Statement: 
IG Established


Status: Recognised & Endorsed

The Metadata IG will concern itself with all aspects of metadata for research data.  In particular it will attempt to coordinate the efforts of the WGs concerned with metadata to produce a coherent approach to metadata covering metadata modalities of description, restriction, navigation, provenance, preservation and the use of metadata for the purposes discovery, contextualisation, validation, analytical processing, simulation, visualisation and interoperation.  It will also liaise with the other WGs especially Data Foundation and Terminology, PIDs, Standardisation of data categories and codes and Data Citation.  This IG activity relates to data management policies and plans of research organisations and researchers, and to policies and standards of research funders and of research communities which may or may not be official standards.

The metadata IG will organise itself through online meetings and face-to-face meetings of members of the IG present at RDA Plenary events.  It is proposed that – while membership is open to any RDA registered member – key members will be the leaders of the WGs concerned with metadata.  In order to get the renovated IG working I volunteer to initiate this activity but would expect elections and handover to someone else after an initial period.

Metadata Principles - Created and endorsed by all the RDA metadata groups

  1. The only difference between metadata and data is mode of use
  2. Metadata is not just for data, it is also for users, software services, computing resources
  3. Metadata is not just for description and discovery; it is also for contextualisation (relevance, quality, restrictions (rights, costs)) and for coupling users, software and computing resources to data (to provide a  VRE)
  4. Metadata must be machine-understandable as well as human understandable for autonomicity (formalism)
  5. Management (meta)data is also relevant (research proposal, funding, project information, research outputs, outcomes, impact…)



Current Activity


Joint Meeting: IG Metadata, IG Data in Context, WG Metadata Standards Catalog

Wednesday March 21 Breakout 2 – 14:30 – 16:00

Room A08 – Remote Participation


Meeting objectives

  1. Present the Metadata Standards Catalog and encourage further submissions;
  2. Promote discussion of the proposed metadata element set;
  3. Promote discussion and propose a process for
    • collecting domain vocabularies;
    • matching and mapping vocabularies;
    • establishing a canonical vocabulary to assist interoperation by crosswalks to the domain vocabularies;
    • contextual metadata used for assessing relevance and quality of the described asset for the purpose of the end-user;
  4. Ensure coordination among the metadata groups and representatives of domain (subject area) groups and other infrastructure groups attending.

Meeting agenda

  1. Introduction and purpose
  2. Metadata Standards Catalog (20 min)
    • Presentation
    • Request for further contributions for the Metadata Standards Catalog
  3. Metadata element set (10 min)
    • Presentation
    • Discussion
  4. Vocabularies Process (45 min)
    • Marine: Helen Glaves (British Geological Survey)
    • Social Science: Darren Bell (UKDA)
    • Wheat: Windpouire-Esther Dzale-Yeumo (INRA)
    • Vocabularies process discussion
  5. Closing, pointing to metadata resources on RDA website (10 min)



Joint Meeting: IG Metadata, WG Data Type Registries 1&2

Friday March 23 Breakout 8 – 11:00 – 12:30

Room A01 – Remote Participation


Meeting objectives

There are currently two efforts underway to work with standards bodies.

A W3C/RDA Collaboration discussion led by Phil Archer was held at the Chairs meeting in Göteborg in June. The purpose of the discussion was (a) to make sure RDA group chairs know of the activity planned for W3C DXWG (Data Exchange Working Group) that plans to improve DCAT in among work on metadata standards for data exchange generally; (b) to encourage participation from RDA group chairs in this activity with the aim of closer cooperation between W3C and RDA. The W3C wishes to improve / enrich DCAT as one of its recommendations. 

The data typing effort that has been part of multiple WGs since the start of RDA was taken up by an ISO working group led by Giridhar Manepalli of CNRI. The part of ISO (the part that looks after metadata) considering it is also the part that looks after ISO 11179, the enormous and well-known to some meta meta standard. At a recently concluded ISO meeting in Denver the decision was taken to start a new series of metadata groups with Data Type Registries as a prominent use case for one of those groups, as yet unnamed. This led to discussion inside this part of ISO about ways to work with RDA and to smooth the path to ISO standardization for those RDA groups and recommendations that wanted to go in that direction, starting with these new metadata groups. The convener of the relevant ISO group is asking for advice on how to do this.

Is RDA, as a voluntary community-driven and-consensus based organization, the right forum to push for non-proprietary open standards?

Meeting agenda

  1. Introduction and purpose
  2. Metadata IG work with W3C
  3. DTR WG work with ISO
  4. Discussion
  5. Summary of discussion
  6. Next steps


Metadata Standards Directory:

The RDA Metadata Standards Directory Working Group supports a collaborative, open directory of metadata standards applicable to scientific data. Additions or updates to the directory can be made here.  


Metadata Element Set:

The metadata groups intend to recommend the following metadata element set. Please note that each element needs 'unpacking' to get to something recognizable and actionable by a computer. The comments from reviewers are listed for each element. The folder for all elements is here.

As noted above, these are elements, not single-valued attributes.  Most will have internal syntax (structure) and use of terms that require declared semantics. Also it is not exhaustive; it is expected that particular subject domains will have much greater lists of elements.  This list is intended to be the recommend list of elements that should be provided by all within RDA to

  1. permit discovery,
  2. support contextualisation (assessment of relevance and value) and
  3. facilitate action (interoperation including query and integration).

Use Case Analysis:

The initial use case Analysis was presented in Session 9 joint meeting of all the metadata groups at Plenary 6 in Paris. Below are some revised slides based on the feedback from that meeting and the master use case spreadsheet showing the process.


FAIR guiding principles published in Nature journal

The FAIR Principles address these needs by providing a precise and measurable set of qualities a good data publication should exhibit - qualities that ensure that the data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship have been published.


Past Plenaries

  • 2017-19-05 - 2017-09-21 RDA Plenary 10 Montreal
  • 2017-04-05 - 2017-04-07 RDA Plenary 9 Barcelona
  • 2016-09-15 - 2016-09-17 RDA Plenary 8 Denver
  • 2016-03--01 - 2016-03-03 RDA Plenary 7 Tokyo
  • 2015-09-23 - 2015-09-25 RDA Plenary 6 Paris
  • 2015-03-08 - 2015-03-11 RDA Plenary 5 San Diego
  • 2014-09-22 - 2014-09-24  RDA Plenary 4 Amsterdam
  • 2014-03-26 - 2014-03-28  RDA Plenary 3 Dublin
  • 2014-02-24 - 2014-02-25 RDA Europe Munich Meeting


Recent Activity

16 Mar 2018

Metadata IG Sessions at RDA P11 in Berlin

Here are the Metadata IG sessions at RDA P11 in Berlin. We invite you to
participate in these sessions. If you are unable to attend in person, the
remote participation information for GoToMeeting is included.
Rebecca Koskela, Keith Jeffery, Alex Ball
*Joint Meeting: IG Metadata, IG Data in Context, WG Metadata Standards
Wednesday March 21 Breakout 2 – 14:30 – 16:00
Room A08 – Remote Participation

07 Mar 2018

Second online asynchronous meeting of the RDA Linguistics Data Interest Group (LDIG)

Dear all,
We are holding the second online asynchronous meeting of the Linguistics Data Interest Group (LDIG) from today until March 16. We hope to hold these meetings 2-4 times a year, as a way for you to help shape the direction of the group and its work, and to ensure the experiences of a wide range of linguists are reflected in the LDIG outputs.

16 Feb 2018

Fwd: RDA VSSIG Ontology Metadata Task Group Survey

​Metadata Groups,
​'m forwarding this on behalf of the RDA Vocabulary Semantic Services IG.
feel free to transfer this to other metadata/standardization/ontologies
​IGs or ​
Rebecca, Keith, and Alex​
Dear all,
[Apologies for multiple receptions - this announcement has been sent to
multiple mailing lists of the ontology/semantic Web/linked
data/standardization communities.]

04 Jan 2018

methods for auto-generating structured metadata

The Metadata Enhancement Task Force, a sub-committee of the Research
Data Alliance Data Discovery Paradigms Interest Group, is investigating
methods for auto-generating structured metadata. Enhancing the metadata
records associated with research data improves search and supports
automation services such as data processing workflows.
The Task Force is currently developing a survey to collect information
on methods and tools for auto-generating metadata, including related

18 Sep 2017

“R programming language to manage metadata, data complying with OGC standards and controlled vocabularies: the case of Tuna Fisheries”

Dear IG's / WG's,

We would like to invite you to an RDA related event that we believe to be relevant to your activities; “R programming language to manage metadata and data by complying with OGC (EML, CF conventions) standards and controlled vocabularies: the case of Tuna Fisheries” .

When: Tuesday 19 September 2017, from 11:30 to 13:00 local time

Where: room: Mansfield 10, RDA Plenary Meeting, Montreal, Canada

14 Sep 2017

Joint Metadata & Provenance meeting at P10

The joint meeting of the Metadata IG, Metadata Standards Catalog WG,
Research Data Provenance IG, and Data in Context IG will be on Tuesday,
September 19 in Breakout Session 2 (14:00 - 15: 30 EST/UTC -5). The agenda
for this session is here
If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, there will be remote
access for this session (see below).
Remote Access Information (Gotomeeting):

13 Sep 2017

Units of Measure BoF at P10

Apologies for cross posting
On Wednesday Sept 22nd from 3.30 - 5.00 pm in Mansfield 8 at P10 there will be a BoF discussion of the need for formation of a Units of Measure Interest Group.
This BoF has been scheduled because of the need to prioritize units of measure when thinking about interoperable science data and the recently funded NIST grant to create a Semantic Units Repository. Please consider attending to contribute use cases, units/quantities/dimensions representation needs, previous RDA discussions and ideas relative to forming an interest group on the topic.

30 Jun 2017

CfP - MTSR 2017 - Tallinn, Estonia - November 28th to December 1st, 2017

***apologies for cross-posting***
3nd Call for Papers
MTSR’17 : 11th International Conference
on Metadata and Semantics Research
The 11th International Conference on Metadata and Semantics Research (MTSR'17) will be held at Tallinn University in Tallinn, Estonia from November 28th – December 1st 2017.
Important Dates
• July 10th , 2017 : New Paper submission deadline
· July 31st, 2017 : Notification of acceptance

21 Jun 2017

Fwd: 2nd CfP: 11th MTSR'17, November 28th - December 1st, 2017, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Esthonia

Apologies for any duplicates received from cross-posting
Executive Director, DataONE
University of New Mexico
1312 Basehart SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Email: ***@***.***
Cell: (505) 382-0890
Fax: (505) 246-6007
---------- Forwarded message ----------
2nd Call for Papers MTSR’17 : 11th International Conference on Metadata and
Semantics Research

15 Jun 2017

Metadata Element Set

The Metadata Element Set on the Metadata Interest Group website ( has been updated with
the links to the google doc for each element. Please feel free to add your
comments on each element.
Executive Director, DataONE
University of New Mexico
1312 Basehart SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Email: ***@***.***
Cell: (505) 382-0890
Fax: (505) 246-6007