Creating Context for the Record Using Metadata
Effective data management and curation are essential to not only ensure that our research data is discoverable and safely preserved, but also so that it is reusable and repeatable by others. Rich metadata can be used to describe the data, provide context, and capture provenance to facilitate discoverability, reusability, and trust in the research data. In this chapter, we will discuss the roles of both machine-generated and user-defined metadata and the importance of capturing metadata ‘at source’. We will also examine how metadata is used in science, and issues and attitudes towards creating metadata. Software can assist users in the production of metadata and by making use of metadata within interfaces, and we will examine some ways that metadata can be automatically created and examples of smart assistance in digital tools. We will look at ways of encouraging curation through the design of interfaces, including how using invitations, different cues, and changing perspectives can help to capture different kinds of metadata. Finally, we will examine existing digital tools for metadata design and creation, and how including usability in tool design can support users with such tools.