Imagine that you have to leave the project as is for a couple months and then come back to it. What are the most important aspects of the project you'd need help remembering? Some examples:
Now imagine if you had to leave the project and come back after six months or a year. What else would you add to the list?
The next step is to standardize the formatting. The standard to use depends on the discipline and/or format of your data. A few standards are listed below. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather descriptive.
|Type of Data||Discipline/s||Standard|
|----||Social and Behavioral Sciences||Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)|
|----||Ecology||Ecological Metadata Language (EML)|
|Spatial||----||Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM)/FGDC/ISO 19115|
|Biodiversity||Life Sciences||Darwin Core|
A more comprehensive list of disciplinary metadata standards is available from the Digital Curation Centre.
ReadMe files help ensure that your data can be correctly interpreted and analyzed by other researchers.
There are two ways to include a ReadMe with your dataset:
A ReadMe should be a plain text file containing the following:
If text formatting is important for your ReadMe, PDF format is also acceptable.