Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage data. Metadata is key to ensuring that data will survive and continue to be accessible in the future. Typically, it is helpful to use a defined metadata standard to describe your research.
A few popular standards can be found on this page, but there may be others that are more specific to your research.
Some basic metadata elements include:
It is important to consider what format will be best for managing, sharing, and preserving your data. How you choose to represent your data is a primary factor in someone else's ability to use your data in the future.
Formats that are likely to be accessible in the future are:
Examples of preferred format choices include:
Discourage formats include: