Metadata Standards Directory Working Group Recommendations

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Metadata Standards Directory Working Group Recommendations

By Rebecca Koskela

  Metadata Standards Directory WG

Recommendation Title: Metadata standards directory

Impact: Enables discovery of metadata standards for documenting research data, regardless of academic discipline, and addresses issues related to coverage, ease of maintenance and sustainability.

Recommendation package  Github:


Alex Ball, UKOLN Informatics

Jane Greenberg, Metadata Research Center

Keith Jeffery, Keith G Jeffery Consultants

Rebecca Koskela, DataONE


The United Kingdom Digital Curation Centre (DCC) launched a Disciplinary Metadata Standards Catalogue ( just before this Working Group started its activity. The DCC’s catalogue was adopted, enriched, and expanded by the Working Group. Furthermore the Working Group developed a functional prototype directory (, based around the GitHub infrastructure, that places the information from the DCC directory into an environment where it can be maintained transparently and with full version control. Metadata use cases were also collected from Working Group members using a standard template and ultimately included in the set of use cases compiled by the RDA Metadata Interest Group.


The Metadata Standards Directory Working Group set out to develop a directory that would enable researchers, and those who support them, to discover metadata standards that would be appropriate for documenting their research data, regardless of their academic discipline. It happened that a directory with similar aims had recently been developed independently by the UK Digital Curation Centre (DCC), so the group collaborated with the DCC on developing the directory further to achieve additional goals regarding coverage, ease of maintenance, and sustainability.

The group provided updates and additions to the entries in the DCC directory, and developed a second instance of the directory that could be maintained by the community. Additions and updates to the second instance were and are fed back to the DCC version. The second instance was designed in such a way as to simplify any future development e ort, and indeed such development is being taken forward by the Metadata Standards Catalog Working Group.

As well as developing the directory itself, the group also collected use cases that will inform the work of the Metadata Standards Catalog Working Group, the Data in Context Interest Group, and the Metadata Interest Group. 


Output Status: 
RDA Endorsed Recommendations
Group content visibility: 
Use group defaults
Primary WG Focus / Output focus: 
Domain Agnostic: 
Domain Agnostic
PDF icon Metadata Standards Directory.pdf932.58 KB
  • Malcolm Wolski's picture

    Author: Malcolm Wolski

    Date: 16 Feb, 2016

    The directory of metadata standards referred to is a useful resource for researchers and research support professionals seeking information about what metadata standards might be appropriate in a particular discipline. Griffith Uni's best practice metadata guidelines refers to this directory. 


  • Susanna-Assunta Sansone's picture

    Author: Susanna-Assunta...

    Date: 20 Mar, 2016

    I do agree that a directory of metadata standards is very useful but if it aims to be cross-disciplines, like in this case, then also has to be comprehensive.

    For the life, environmental and biomedical sciences we launched a directory in 2008 (named MIBBI portal) and then enhanced and expanded it in 2011 (now re-named BioSharing Information Resources). To date it lists over 629 standards progressively linked to 733 databases, to monitor their implementation, hence use.

    Several journals and groups in the broad life, environmental and biomedical sciences already link to (and use) BioSharing registry, and work continues under a joint RDA/Force11 WG too. A real pity that this Metadata Standards Directory WG only lists 12 standards in the life science area has not seized the opportunity to work with BioSharing and link to it.

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