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Metadata Content Requirements (MCR)

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Introduction | Principles | Metadata content requirements | Quality Levels | Requirements for Collection, Party , Activity and Service | Summary of changes to the Metadata Content Requirements | Reference documents

Introduction

These metadata requirements are evolving in response to feedback from content providers and through annual review by the RIF-CS Advisory Board. Revisions to this page are made on an irregular basis and key changes are noted in the Summary of changes to the Metadata Content Requirements. Retrospective compliance with minimum metadata content requirements by partners is not required. The requirements are a quick-reference version of the Schema guidelines.

ANDS provides a range of ways for researchers and research organisations to participate in the Australian Research Data Commons by publicising the existence of their research data collections. By describing and publicising their data, participants increase the profile of their organisation, and themselves, drive references  to their work and enjoy a 'collaborative advantage' by forging ties with similar research groups, similar research projects and similar research data sets.

ANDS partners with research organisations around Australia to improve accessibility to information about research data collections. Descriptions of data collections registered with ANDS are disseminated through the ANDS discovery portal Research Data Australia and through a number of other portals nationally and internationally.

For the purposes of describing collections, ANDS has adopted the information model from ISO 2146:2010 (Registry Services for Libraries and Related Organisations) standard. This information model is based on collections (both electronic and physical), parties (people and organisations), activities (projects  etc.) and services.

The real value of this model is in the relationships that can be created between these entities to create a rich mesh of information about research. We want to enable people to traverse this information mesh to answer questions such as:

  • Who worked on this research data?
  • What other datasets did they work on?
  • Which organisation sponsored the research?
  • What project was involved?
  • What other research data was produced by that project?
  • How can I access the collection?
  • How should I cite this collection?

What conclusions were published from this data?

See more about RIF-CS and ISO 2146:2010 at RIF-CS Explained section on this website.

The information we collect is designed to allow researchers to evaluate the research data collection in its context. This information can be characterised as one of:

  • information for discovery - this consists of a range of pieces of descriptive information that will assist in the discovery of the collection
  • information for determination of value - this includes information such as the name of the researcher, institution or funding program that might help a potential user to decide whether they want to access the data
  • information for access - this might be a direct link to the data objects (stored elsewhere, such as on national and institutional data stores), both at collection and possibly object level, or contact details for where to source the data
  • information for re-use – this will include things like reading scales, field names, variables, calibration settings that are needed in order to effectively re-use the data

This information can then be used to help users decide whether or not to further investigate the data and possibly, reuse the data, cite the data, collaborate with the data creator, approach the research organisation involved, apply for ethics clearances, etc.

For the automated exchange of this information between research organisations and ANDS, ANDS uses an XML format, the Registry Interchange Format for Collections and Services (RIF-CS) which is based on ISO 2146:2010. ANDS applies a number of structural and content rules about information being supplied in order  to ensure its validity and broad fitness for purpose. Some information fields must be supplied. Completing these required fields is necessary but not sufficient to create a quality set of information about research data collections.

To comply with best practice standards for creating records, ANDS recommends that you augment this minimum set, focussing on providing the answers that potential users, collaborators, and funders might want to know about your organisation's research data assets. Learn how to maximise the impact of your metadata and make RIF-CS work for your organisation.

For organisations participating in the ARDC, ANDS has developed a set of principles to inform the scope and applicability of these metadata requirements.

Principles

Principle Description
Principle 1 These metadata content requirements are primarily intended to support discovery of Australian research data by providing rich interlinked searchable metadata about that data. They also support technical and administrative functions within the institutions.
Principle 2 Research Data Australia is intended to display metadata to assist discovery, determination of value, access and re-use. It is not expected to, and does not need to contain, all the metadata contained in the originating metadata source.
Principle 3 The RIF-CS XML format based on the ISO 2146 standard provides a flexible structure to accommodate the many different information models/standards/schemes found in different repositories or registries operating in differing contexts. Accordingly, there can be no one-size-fits-all set of standardised metadata requirements; most elements are repeatable and can contain local values. ANDS encourages use of controlled vocabularies as a source of metadata values.
Principle 4 Richer metadata contains detailed and meaningful names, subject keywords, full descriptions, temporal and spatial coverage, citation information, rights statement and meaningful relations that add information and context to the metadata document and support discovery and re-use. Contextual information such as information about the research program/project, data collection methods, researcher, or institution, helps a researcher decide if they want to re-use the data. Information about access such as access conditions and terms of use, restrictions on access, or contact information, enables the researcher to get to the data. Learn more.
Principle 5

Good quality, accurate and current metadata renders the research data more useful and accessible over the longer term. Documented quality assurance processes are desirable.

Principle 6

Metadata from the 'Recommended' category should be provided where the metadata provider has collected the metadata; the additional information improves discovery and re-use, and maintenance of the information is practical and makes good use of resources.

Principle 7 If multiple instances of a registry object can be related to the object being described, these should be provided as long as they satisfy Principle 6.

Metadata Content Requirements (MCR)

ANDS is a collections registry and gathers information about other objects only insofar as they provide context to collections, and enable discovery for collections.

Collection and party records complying with these standards must be provided and we recommend that activity and service records are also made available.

Previously, partners were required to supply party and activity records which were related to collections. You are now able to link to party or activity records supplied by other partners. For example, in the case of party records, you can link to NLA-derived records, or for activity records to ARC or  NHMRC records.

You can also continue to create your own party or activity records if you wish to add more information about your party or activity. Linking to existing records instead of supplying new records will meet the minimum metadata content requirements.

For more detail see the ANDS Content Providers Guide.

The following tables list RIF-CS schema elements for describing ANDS registry objects.

  • 'Required' elements must be provided for each registry object (metadata record) shared with the ANDS Collections Registry.
  • 'Required if available' elements must be provided as soon as the information comes available. In some cases this will be the time of metadata record creation. For information that becomes available later (for technical or timing reasons), ANDS expects that this information will be added to    the record and provided as an update to the ANDS Collections Registry.
  • 'Recommended' elements are elements that ANDS prefers providers to include to support discovery and/or re-use. These should be provided if the metadata is available and if, in the opinion of the data provider, the elements support discovery or re-use in the context of the particular activity,    collection, party or service being described. Learn how to use recommended elements to increase the impact of your metadata.

Quality level definitions

ANDS defines levels of record quality in order to guide decision making and to ensure records facilitate discovery, access and reuse.

  • Quality Level 1: Meets some but not all RIF-CS required elements and attributes (includes machine generated elements)
  • Quality Level 2: Meets all RIF-CS 1.5 Required Elements and Attributes. Records may also include some of the recommended elements.
  • Quality Level 3: Meets and exceeds all RIF-CS 1.5 Required Elements and Attributes, as well as Recommended Elements. See RDA best practicesfor guidance on preparing records that comply with best    practice.

The quality level columns in the four tables below indicate the elements needed for each level. The Help button on the Manage records page in ANDS Online Services gives more information about the Metadata Content Requirements Quality Levels.

Requirements for Collection, Party, Activity and Service

Collection registry object (required)

Label Schema Element Name Required / Recommended Quality Level Requirement Status
registry objects <registryObjects> Required 1 All requirements specified March 2010, unless otherwise noted (RIF-CS 1.0.1)
registry object <registryObject> Required 1  
originating source <originatingSource> Required    
group @group Required 1  
key <key> Required 1  
class type (collection) <collection> Required 1  
collection type <collection type> Required 1  
name/title <name> Required 2  
description <description> Required 2  
location/address <location> Required 2  
related object (party) <relatedObject> Required 2  
related object (activity) <relatedObject> Required if available 3 Changed March 2011, "if available" qualification added (RIF-CS v1.2.0)
rights <rights> Required (Rights to be provided in the new rights element; description element can continue to be used for existing feeds). 2 Added Dec 2011 (RIF-CS v1.3.0)
identifier   <identifier> Recommended 3  
dates <dates> Recommended 3 Added Nov 2012 (RIF-CS v.1.4.0)
subject <subject> Recommended 3  
spatial coverage <coverage> Recommended 3 Added March 2011 (RIF-CS v1.2.0)
temporal coverage <coverage> Recommended  3 Added March 2011 (RIF-CS v1.2.0)
citation <citationInfo> Recommended 3 Added Dec 2011 (RIF-CS v1.3.0)

Party registry object (required)

Label Schema Element Name Required / Recommended Quality Level Requirement Status
registry objects <registryObjects> Required 1 All requirements specified March 2010, unless otherwise noted (RIF-CS 1.0.1)
registry object <registryObject> Required 1  
originating source  <originatingSource> Required 1  
group @group Required 1  
key <key> Required 1  
class type (party) <party> Required 1  
party type <party type> Required 1  
name <name> Required 2  
identifier <identifier> Recommended 3  
location/address <location> Recommended 3  
related object (activity) <relatedObject> Recommended 3  
related object (collection) <relatedObject> Required 2  
description <description> Recommended 3  
subject <subject> Recommended 3  
existence dates <existenceDates> Recommended 3 Added Dec 2011 (RIF-CS v1.3.0)

Activity registry object (highly recommended)

Label Schema Element Name Required / Recommended Quality Level Requirement Status
registry objects <registryObjects> Required 1 All requirements specified March 2010, unless otherwise noted (RIF-CS 1.0.1)
registry object <registryObject> Required 1  
originating source <originatingSource> Required 1  
group @group Required 1  
key <key> Required 1  
class type (activity) <activity> Required 1  
activity type <activity type> Required 1  
name/title <name> Required 2  
description <description> Required 2  
location/address <location> Recommended 3  
related object (party) <relatedObject> Required 2  
related object (collection) <relatedObject> Required if available 3  
subject <subject> Recommended 3  
existence dates <existenceDates> Recommended 3 Added Dec 2011 (RIF-CS v1.3.0)

Service registry object (desirable)

Label Schema Element Name Required / Recommended Quality Level Requirement Status
egistry objects <registry Objects> Required 1 All requirements specified March 2010, unless otherwise noted (RIF-CS 1.0.1)
registry object <registryObject> Required 1  
originating source  <originatingSource> Required 1  
group @group Required 1  
key <key> Required 1  
class type (service) <service> Required 1  
service type <service type> Required 1  
name <name> Required 2  
location/address <location> Required if available 3 Changed March 2011, "if available" qualification added (RIF-CS v1.2.0)
related object (party) <relatedObject> Recommended 3  
related object (collection) <relatedObject> Required 2  
description <description> Recommended 3  
access policy <relatedInfo> Recommended 3 Currently listed as a requirement but has not been added to validation.

Summary of changes to the MCR

Date Changes
December 2015 No changes to the Metadata Content Requirements for RIF-CS 1.6.1.
December 2014 No changes to the Metadata Content Requirements for RIF-CS 1.6.0.
November 2013 No changes to the Metadata Content Requirements for RIF-CS 1.5.0.
November 2012 Dates element added as a recommended element for collections, to align with RIF-CS v.1.4.0.
March 2012
  • Added column to table of RIF-CS required/recommended elements to show schema changes.
  • Schema element (Service: access policy) linked to relevant part of Content Provider Guide.
December 2011
  • Amended requirements to align with RIF-CS 1.3.0. All schema changes are backwards compatible. No existing feeds need to change.
  • Rights element added to record rights information for collections. Description element can be used for existing feeds but new contributors are encouraged to move to the new rights element.
  • Existence dates element recommended for party and activity records (optional).
  • Citation element recommended for collection records (optional).
September 2011 Added Principle 7, addressing desirability of creating multiple relationships between registry objects.
August 2011 Linking to existing party or activity records instead of supplying new records meets minimum metadata content requirements.
March 2011
  • Updated introduction.
  • Minor changes to the table entries.
  • Some elements now "required if available".
  • Updated schema element names to align with RIF-CS 1.2.0 (e.g. "coverage").
  • Schema element names linked to relevant parts of the Content Providers Guide.
  • Data Source Quality Check Tool, available in the Sandbox, which measures compliance with these requirements, updated.

Reference documents

The RIF-CS Schemas (schemas for Registry Objects, Activities, Collections, Parties and Services), Schema Guidelines, and other documentation are available from the RIF-CS RIF-CS Schema page.

ANDS Content Providers Guide: this guide is a reference tool for data source administrators and metadata providers who need to understand the semantic content of RIF-CS Schema documents for mapping or planning  purposes. It describes the meaning and purpose of the information collected by the ANDS Collections Registry. It also explains how to use the RIF-CS Schema to share that information with ANDS.