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Library Subject Guides

Research Data Management: Working with Data

Supporting Data Management at the University of Canterbury


DMPonline, which has been developed by the Digital Curation Centre to help you write data management plans, recommends that researchers:

Outline the metadata, documentation or other supporting material that should accompany the data for it to be interpreted correctly.

What is Metadata?

Metadata is data about data

Why is it important?

To find data we need to be able to describe what it is and how it was created.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You need to understand how Google and other search engines find stuff. Clearly describing your data is a primary route to getting your work found by search engines.

In Research Data Management,Dublin Core is the leading standard for metadata. It was developed from a 1995 meeting held in Dublin, Ohio and called  "core" because its elements are broad and generic, usable for describing a wide range of usually digital resources. Dublin Core is described in ISO Standard 15836:2009 of February 2009. It is an open source initiative known as Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (or DCMI).

Where else is it used?

Dublin Core is used to help support the Semantic Web which is a collaborative movement led by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The standard promotes common data formats on the World Wide Web. By encouraging the inclusion of semantic content in web pages, the Semantic Web aims at converting the current web, dominated by unstructured and semi-structured documents into a "web of data". The Semantic Web stack builds on the W3C's Resource Description Framework (RDF). A qualified version of Dublin Core is used in describing theses in the UC Research Repository though additional fields including the PhD supervisor and the degree awarded have been added..





Data Collection

Dublin Core metadata elements

The 15 elements described by Dublin Core




A name given to the resource


An entity primarily responsible for creating the resource


The topic of the content of the resource


An account of the content of the resource


An entity responsible for making the resource available


An entity responsible for making a contribution to the content of the resource


A date associated with an event in the lifecycle of the resource


The nature or genre of the content of the resource


The physical or digital manifestation of the resource


An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context


A reference to a resource from which the present resource is derived


A language of the intellectual content of the resource


A reference to a related resource


The extent or scope of the content of the resource


Information about rights held in or over the resource

Taken from Table 1 page 3 of Dublin Core: Processes and Principles by Sugimoto, S., Baker, T. and Weibel, S.L 

(for more information see:

Data storage and backup