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Institutional metadata stores case studies


Flinders University

Flinders University successfully completed one Data Capture project and two Seeding the Commons Projects in 2011. As part of the Data Capture project, a metadata store running on ReDBox software was installed and delivered RIF-CS metadata covering all ANDS-funded Flinders projects to Research Data Australia. Flinders continues to support ReDBox, is represented on the ReDBox Product Reference Group and plays an active part in the ReDBox User Group.

The metadata store has been strongly identified within Flinders as a deliverable of the previous Data Capture project and as such, has not yet been integrated into University systems and workflows.

Flinders University seeks to automate the collection of research datasets metadata wherever possible. The Metadata Stores project investigated two models for enabling this and implemented the model best suited to Flinders needs. The first model involved the migration of data from 'sources of truth' into ReDBox. The second model included the development of a Data Management Planning tool, similar to that in operation at Curtin University. Such a tool would be prepopulated with data from sources of truth. Successful completion of the Data Management Plan would trigger access to a collaborative research project site, and migration of metadata to ReDBox.

The project produced a workflow and infrastructure to encourage the registration and description of research datasets. Depending on the model chosen, the outcome could be either an easy to use research data registration process that will give Flinders important management information for further work to develop support; or a data management planning workflow that would enable researchers to not only register and describe their datasets, but also arrange sound data storage.

Less tangibly, the project raised awareness of good research data management practice amongst researchers and professional staff, increased capacity within the Library to support researchers in managing their data and provided the University valuable information about research datasets produced at Flinders that could be used to identify emerging research areas or opportunities for collaboration.

The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide has been involved in three ANDS-funded projects to date: one Seeding the Commons project and two Data Capture projects. All three projects have produced RIF-CS compliant records for inclusion in Research Data Australia. There is currently no institutional facility for centrally storing these and subsequent metadata records.

The need for an institutional metadata store has been identified through the University of Adelaide's Research ICT Review conducted by IT Strategy and Architecture staff in 2011. Also in 2011, the ANDS-funded Seeding the Commons project 'Showcasing Research Data' elicited researchers' requirements for a University research data repository and metadata store. The project report, Responses to interviews: University of Adelaide research data repository and metadata store, indicated strong support from the research community for the development of a repository and metadata store.

In April 2012 the University of Adelaide embarked on an ANDS and University co-funded Metadata Stores project. This project realised an important first step in meeting the needs identified in the above mentioned report.

Project overview

The University of Adelaide developed a semi-automated, institutional approach to the capture of metadata about research data collections from the University's research community.

The University of Adelaide utilised open source software to support a workflow for registering new collections. The workflow leverages information already stored in the University's HR and research management systems to describe researchers and research activities, thereby capturing rich contextual information to support the descriptions of research data collections, and minimising duplication of data entry.


The University of Adelaide utilised open source software to support a workflow for registering new collections. Both ReDBox and Vivo were considered for use as a metadata store.

Curtin University

Project overview

Curtin University developed a semi-automated, institutional approach to management of research data, called Research Data Manager (RDM).

The Curtin University solution:

  • leveraged researcher requirements for digital storage for research data for the creation of metadata to describe stored data
  • leveraged the University's grant application process as a starting point for initiating request for digital storage for a research project.
  • leveraged information already stored in the University's HR systems for the creation of metadata to describe researchers.
  • leveraged information already stored by the Office of Research Development in the University's research management system to describe research activities.

Leveraging existing University systems in this way:

  • adds rich contextual information to descriptions of research data.
  • minimises duplication of data entry required for the creation of descriptive metadata.

Linking the process for receiving access to data storage to the process for metadata creation encouraged researchers to provide contextual metadata that does not already exist in other University systems.

The overarching idea, captured in the name 'Cradle-to-Grave,' was to start to capture information about research data from the very beginning of the research process at Curtin University. By collecting all relevant information from a variety of sources, the process helps enable appropriate custodianship of research data through to the point at which it is archived or discarded.


Research Data Manager (RDM) allows users to:

  • create Data Management Plans for their research projects
  • request online data storage space for research projects with Data Management Plans
  • access an automatically generated PDF of the Data Management Plan in the online storage space
  • access all their online storage spaces from a single interface
  • create and manage metadata for collections and datasets
  • request the release of metadata for collections and datasets to Research Data Australia through an approvals workflow.


RDM was built using Microsoft .NET technologies. Services connect RDM to the institutional Research Management System (RMS) so that users can create Data Management Plans for research projects captured in the RMS. RDM uses NServiceBus (an open source messaging framework) to manage long running business processes and integration with external systems. RDM has primary responsibility for the online storage space provisioning process and approvals workflow.

The metadata management component of RDM is compliant with the RIF-CS metadata standard. The metadata on collection and datasets from the RDM, along with metadata for activities description from the RMS and metadata on parties from the institutional Human Resources (HR) system is aggregated in the institutional metadata store (VIVO) for submission to Research Data Australia.