RDA 8th Plenary Joint meeting: IG Elixir Bridging Force, WG Biosharing Registry,WG Data Type Registries,WG Metadata Standards Catalog

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02 June 2016 3637 reads

Groups: IG Elixir Bridging Force, WG Biosharing Registry,WG Data Type Registries,WG Metadata Standards Catalog


The proposed session originates from discussion at the 7th RDA Plenary in Tokyo in a joint session between the Elixir Bridging Force IG and Biosharing Registry WG.


In introducing the session in Tokyo Mikael Borg commented that in coming from a physics background the main difference he had noted about biomedical research was the diversity of the data it must deal with. This theme was discussed and endorsed and a plan proposed for the 8th plenary.

To begin to illustrate: Cancer alone is at least 50 different diseases. The College of American Pathologists publishes 79 different data templates to accommodate that diversity for pathology alone. The Radiological Society of North America publishes over 400 data templates. While these projects are driven by a motive of standardization these numbers illustrate that the diversity cannot be eliminated. Yet these examples are parochial in terms of the disciplines and international scope of biomedical research. Diversity is indeed the key issue.

Not only is there variety, at no point in time will the set of definitions of biomedical research data be static.

Particular (meta)data templates are and will continue to be handled by the appropriate domain organizations; professional bodies such as those above, other standards development organizations. Management of these definitions will inherently be distributed. The common interdisciplinary ground lies elsewhere…

Both data type registries, metadata catalogs and directories are efforts to provide means for diverse domains to share information about the data they use in their research.


Focus on the data diversity problem in biomedicine.

Identify relevance of RDA DTR and Metadata initiatives

Understand challenges from existing efforts to implement datatype and metadata registries.


  1. Introduction – Ian Fore - 15mins 

  2. Diversity of Biomedical Data-
    1. Elxir - Rob Hooft - 10 mins
    2. Peter McQuilton - 10 mins
  3. DTRs and metadata, (Wo Chang, Larry Lannom) - 15 mins

  4. Metadata Standards Catalog WG (Rebecca Koskela) - 15 minutes 

  5. Discussion - 25 mins
  6. Summary - 5 mins

Specific questions to address on relevance of  Data Type Registries and Metadata Standards Catalogs to biomedical research

  • Do the activities of the group provide a domain independent way of describing metadata/data types?
  • Are there existing standards (e.g. IS0-11179, XMI) which can be used?
  • If such standards do not meet the need is RDA a suitable forum in which to define new standards in this area?
  • What initiatives might develop implementations and infrastructure that can be used in multiple domains?
  • What are the opportunities within the two working groups to explore the biomedical use cases for DTRs/cataloging metadata?