Information Management: Metadata Reference

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CWT GCE Non-geospatial Metadata Content Standard

The design and organization of the GCE metadata standard for non-geospatial data sets is based on guidelines in the following publications:

Gross, Katherine L. and Catherine E. Pake.  1995.  Final report of the Ecological Society of America Committee on the Future of Long-term Ecological Data (FLED).  Volume I: Text of the Report.  The Ecological Society of America, Washington, D.C.

Michener, William K.  2000.  Metadata.  Pages 92-116 in: Ecological Data - Design, Management and Processing.  Michener, William K. and James W. Brunt, eds.  Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, England.

Details of the content standard are listed below and are reproduced from the GCE Website. For readability, the standard is presented in the numbered outline style used by Michener, 2000. Metadata fields are actually generated from the database as a series of 'CategoryName_FieldName' labels and field values (i.e. as name-value pairs), which are parsed to display metadata in a wide variety of formats using custom software and style templates.

Note:  Metadata for all GCE-LTER data sets is also available in Ecological Metadata Language (EML) XML format to support LTER, KNB, SEEK and NBII catalogs.

I. Data Set Descriptors
Elements that uniquely identify each data set and provide global search information (e.g. originators, abstract, key words)

A. Dataset_Title Title describing the the data set
B. Dataset_Accession Code used to uniquely identify the data set in the GCE Information System
C. 1. Dataset_Investigator Name and contact information for the principle investigator responsible for the data set
C. 2. Dataset_Abstract Abstract describing the research study and summarizing key findings
C. 3. Dataset_StudyType Type of study represented by the data set (i.e. 'monitoring', 'directed study', or 'other study')
C. 4. Dataset_Themes Research themes describing the data set
C. 5. Dataset_LTERCore LTER core research areas represented by the data set
C. 6. Dataset_Georeferences Nature of any georeference information present in the data set
C. 7. Dataset_SubmitDate Date the data set was submitted to the GCE Data Manager
D. Dataset_Keywords List of key words describing the study for search purposes

II. Research Origin Descriptors
Elements that describe the research program under which the data set was produced

A. Overall Project Description
General information about the affiliations, objectives, and funding of the overall research project

1. Project_Name Name of the overall project
2. Project_Leaders Names and contact information for the lead investigators of the project
3. Project_StartDate Starting date of the project
3. Project_EndDate Ending date of the project (or current funding cycle)
4. Project_Objectives Stated research objectives of the project
5. Project_Abstract Proposal abstract describing the project
6. Project_Funding Funding agency and grant number for the overall project

B. 1. Site Description
Description of the study site

a. Site_Location Textual description of the location of each study site referenced by the data set
a. Site_Coordinates Geographic coordinates of each study site referenced by the data set (i.e. as central points or bounding boxes)
b. Site_Physiography Physiographic province (i.e. ecoregion) of each referenced study site
c. Site_Landform Land form components of each referenced study site (e.g. flood plain, stream terrace, back dune, beach)
d. Site_Hydrography Hydrographic description of each referenced study site
e. Site_Topography Topographic description of each referenced  study site
f. Site_Geology Geological description of each referenced study site
g. Site_Vegetation Dominant vegetation communities at each referenced study site
h. Site_History Research or disturbance history of each referenced study site
i. Site_Climatology Summaries of climatic characteristics of each referenced study site

B. 2. Experimental or Sampling Design
Details about the overall design of the study

a. Study_Description Description of the overall design of the study, including hypotheses and statistical design
b. Study_Plots Description of any permanent plots used in the study (including dimensions and characteristics)
c. Study_Sampling Description of the sampling design used in the research
  Study_BeginDate Beginning date of the research or observations
  Study_EndDate Ending date of the research or observations

B. 3. Research Methods
Details about the methods used in the study

a. Study_Methods Description of the field, laboratory and statistical methods used in the study, including references
b. Study_Instrumentation Makes and models of instruments used in the research
c. Study_Taxonomy References to any taxonomic keys or voucher specimens used in the study
d. Study_Permits References to any collecting or access permits relevant to the study

B. 4. Personnel
List of all the personnel that participated in the study

a. Study_Personnel All personnel associated with the study (PI and others)
b. Study_Affiliations Institutional affiliations of all personnel associated with the study

III. Data Set Status and Accessibility
Status and accessibility of the data set

A. Status
Details about the storage and archival history of the data set

1. Status_DataUpdate Date of last data set update
2. Status_ArchivalDate Date of last data set archival
3. Status_MetadataUpdate Date of last metadata update
4. Status_Verification Status of data set verification by the GCE-LTER data manager

B. Accessibility
Details about accessing and citing the data set

1. Status_Location Physical or network location of the data set files
1. Status_Medium Primary medium used to distribute the data set
2. Status_Contact Contact information to use when requesting the data set
3. Status_Copyright Copyright restrictions prohibiting use of all or portions of the data
4. Status_Restrictions Proprietary or copyright restrictions pertaining to the data set
4. a. Status_ProjectRelease Date when the data set will be available to GCE-LTER participants
4. a. Status_PublicRelease Date when the data set will be available to the general scientific community
4. b. Status_Citation Citation to be used when citing the data
4. c. Status_Disclaimer Data use or quality disclaimer
5. Status_Cost Description of any costs associated with obtaining the data set

IV. Data Structural Descriptors
Details about the physical and logical structure of the data set, including variables, column formats, and code definitions

A. Data Set File (tabular & non-tabular data sets)
Details about the data file attributes

1. Data_FileName Filename used to store the data set in the GCE-IS
2. Data_Size Number of observations (i.e. rows, records) in the data set
3. Data_FileFormat Format used to store the data set file (e.g. binary, ASCII)
3. Data_Delimiters Type of delimiters used to separate columns (ASCII only)
4. Data_Header Description of file header (if present)
5. Data_Alphanumeric Characteristics of alphanumeric characters (upper, lower, or mixed case)
6. Data_Codes Definition of special codes used in the file or file header (exclusive of coded values)
7. Data_Authentication Description of procedures used to authenticate the quality of the data
8. Data_Calculations Equations used to generate values in calculated columns
9. Data_ProcessHistory History of any data set processing performed after initial data submission (e.g. automated quality control procedures, structural rearrangement, subsampling, addition of calculated attributes)

B. Variable Information (tabular data sets)
Details about the variables in the data set (i.e. columns)

1. Data_Names Name of each column (1 nested entry per column)
2. Data_Descriptions Description of each column (1 nested entry per column)
3. Data_Units Units for each column (1 nested entry per column)
4. a. Data_DataTypes Physical data type of each column (i.e. floating-point number, integer, string; 1 nested entry per column)
4. b. Data_ValueCodes Codes or numbers used to represent specific values in coded, nominal, or logical columns
4. c. Data_ValueRange Minimum and maximum values for each numeric column (1 nested entry per column)
4. d. Data_MissingValues Codes used to represent missing observations
5. a. Data_Columntype Type of column (fixed or variable width)
5. b. Data_Fields Number of columns (i.e. fields, variables) in the data set
5. c. Data_Precisions Maximum number of decimal places to use for displaying each column (1 nested entry per column)
6. Data_VariableTypes Logical variable type represented by each column (e.g. data, calculation, nominal, datetime, logical, description, code; 1 nested entry per column)
7. Data_FlagCriteria Criteria used to assign quality-control flags for each column (1 nested entry per column)

C. Data Set Anomalies (tabular & non-tabular data sets)
Description of any anomalies noted in the data set

       Data_Anomalies Description of any anomalies noted in the data prior to submission

V. Supplemental Descriptors
Supplemental information about data processing software, usage history and resultant publications

A. 1.  Supplement_DataForms Description of any data entry forms used in the study
A. 2. Supplement_FormsLocation Location of any data entry forms or other physical data records
A. 3. Supplement_Validation Procedures used to validate data during or after digitization
B. Supplement_QAQC Description of quality control and quality assurance procedures used to validate the data, including methods used to identify outliers 
C. Supplement_Materials Description and storage location of any physical samples or other materials derived from sample analysis
D. Supplement_Software Vendor, name and version of any software used to process or analyze the data
E. Supplement_Archival Description of archival practices
F. Supplement_PublicationHistory Publications referencing the data set
G. 1. Supplement_UsageHistory History of user requests for the data set
G. 2. Supplement_UpdateHistory History of updates to the data set
G. 3. Supplement_ReviewerNotes Notes added by data set reviewers
G. 4. Supplement_UserNotes Notes or comments submitted by end users of the data set