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We advise you on the selection of suitable metadata standards, thesauruses, and classifications.

If a suitable standard does not yet exist for your application, it is possible to create a new one or adapt an exisiting one to your needs.

What is metadata and how can I use them?

Metadata is "data about data." It is particularly important for digital research data, because the research data is exclusively described, organized, and classified by the metadata. With its help, questions can be answered like:

  • Where is the data from?
  • Who collected the data and when and where?

To ensure that metadata about digital information systems can be exchanged and re-used, consistent metadata standards should be used as much as possible. Metadata standards are defined and structured amounts of metadata fields, which classify and describe an object.

How do I find an appropriate metadata standard?

The selection of metadata standards depends on

  • the type of data
  • the context, in which the data originated and is used

There are a number of metadata standards from various subject disciplines. The first step in creating a description of your resarch data is to check, whether a suitable standard already exists for your discipline.

Examples of Subject-Specific Metadata Standards

What do I need to take into consideration when applying metadata?

If you have selected a metadata standard, the next step is to determine the content of the data fields. In order to ensure the greatest re-usability and to optimally support searches for the data, controlled vocabulary, thesauruses, and classfications should be used. There are a number of transdisciplinary and subject-specific solutions in this step as well.


General Multilingual Environmental Thesaurus (GEMET), Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), Getty Vocabularies - AAT, TGB, CONA, ULAN