Penn StateData Management Plan Tutorial

Part 2: Documenting the Data

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drawing of Kim

Kim Learns about Metadata

Kim has now taken stock of Professor Smart's data, noting in appropriate detail its types and formats, as well as documenting the size of it and estimating its rate of growth. Familiarizing herself in this way with the data, she's now ready to think about how to describe what it is and investigate what the community of researchers working with similar data use to describe it. She's heard of “metadata” but is not quite sure what it means or why she might need it.


In this part, you will understand the value of metadata and metadata standards, including the following:

  • Determine what metadata are required (what information about your data is important to document?)
  • Document how metadata will be recorded (who's going to do it? where? with what frequency?)
  • Review directory and file-naming conventions
Table showing metadata for a photograph
Table showing metadata ("data about data") for a photograph (not pictured).