Find Research Data:

Learn about RIF-CS

This page is a self-paced introduction to RIF-CS for beginners.
Each section has a brief explanation of the topic, with optional links to more information. Some topics have learning activities to extend your understanding.

Want to talk to someone? Contact your Client Liaison Officer, or email to organise a 1-to-1 online tutorial, or try your peers, details on Partners and Communities page


What is RIF-CS?

RIF-CS is a template, like an online form. The information that you put into the template is metadata about research data.

RIF-CS is a template in the form of an XML schema that sets out the structure of the information and what can be included.

What does RIF-CS contain?

The RIF-CS template lets you describe four different kinds of things in separate records; research collections including datasets, people and organisations (parties), projects and programs (activities) and services. It also lets you connect these descriptions to each other.

The RIF-CS template also has some administrative information to support record harvesting and management.


ANDS implementation of ISO 2146 model














Read more about the RIF-CS concepts  | Print this RIF-CS v1.4.0 diagram [PDF]   

ANDS L plate  Learning Activity: Understanding RIF-CS elements [PDF 1.2MB] 

ANDS L plate  Learning Activity: Understanding relations [PDF] |  Understanding relations answers [PDF]

Why was RIF-CS chosen instead of [insert your favourite schema here]?

Its all about links and relationships. RIF-CS lets you describe important things in the research environment (datasets, research collections, researchers, research organisations, projects, services) and link them together. RIF-CS is based on the ISO 2146 standard, a generic information standard that is not tied to any specific research domain.

Read more about the ANDS implementation of ISO 2146

ANDS L plate  Learning activity: How RIF-CS supports discovery

How do I create a collection record?

Step 1 Preparation

  • Start by familiarising yourself with existing records in Research Data Australia. Look at records similar to the ones you will be creating.
  • Find out what records look like—look behind Research Data Australia

Step 2 Logging in to ANDS Online Services

Step 3 Create practice records

  • To get started, copy an existing record.
  • Remember to change the record key and put your own data source information into the Record Administration tab, also remember to delete your practice records later.

l plate image  Review the screenshots for each data entry tab in a collection record from here: Content Providers Guide

What does a "good" record look like?

A "good" record is one that supports researchers in finding research data, deciding if the data is useful, accessing the data, and finally re-using or re-purposing the data in further research.

For a start, a good record has plenty of relevant information, is linked to other records and to external information, is not full of unexplained specialist jargon, and is accurate (check your spelling!).

Read more:

ANDS L plate  Learning Activity: Gold standard records [PDF]

How does my metadata get to ANDS?

ANDS prefers to harvest RIF-CS metadata from your metadata store using the OAI-PMH protocol.

The process looks like this:

Metadata feed process








How do I turn my metadata into RIF-CS? Find out about mapping and crosswalks.

How does harvesting work? An introduction to harvesting | More technical information

What does ANDS do with my information once they get it?

ANDS publishes your information into Research Data AustraliaResearch Data Australia.

ANDS also makes your records available for harvesting by others, such as the National Library of Australia's Trove discovery service.

Read more: ANDS Data Connections Strategy | Research Data Australia | ANDS Discovery Services and the Australian Research Data Commons

How does RIF-CS get changed?

The schema is changed after consultation with the RIF-CS Advisory Board.

Change proposals can be seen on the RIF-CS Schema Changes Discussion forumcommunity bulletin baord in the ANDS Community Bulletin Board (registration required to post to this forum).

For information about changes see RIF-CS Schema Change News.

FAQ and tricky bits

A selection of helpful resources about RIF-CS, Trove, DOIs, and ANDS Online Services is at  Guides, Training, Support

Common questions

  1. Where do I get keys for my metadata records?
    You need to decide this before you start. Options are described here.

  2. I am very confused about party records and Trove, how do I find out more?
    Start with Trove training. If you need more help ask your Client Liaison Officer or email

  3. My XML is seriously out of order.
    XML must be provided in the order specified in the schema. If the XML is out of sequence, the record (not the entire harvest) will be rejected.

  4. The type I want to use isn't in the vocabulary.
    Vocabularies are mostly open, and will accept types that are not in the ANDS-suggested vocabularies. Please consult if you want your vocabulary added.

  5. ANDS controlled vocabularies don't seem to be controlled (i.e. versioned).
    No, they are not. Since the vocabularies are open and evolving, this is not necessary.

  6. What does the Data Source Administrator job involve?
    Basically you manage the sharing of metadata with ANDS and control how your records will display in Research Data Australia. More information about the Data Source Administrator role and about managing your data source account.

Test your knowledge

RIF-CS crossword image

     Crossword [PDF] | Crossword solution [PDF]

     Multiple choice quiz [PDF] | Multiple choice quiz answers [PDF]


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