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What metadata should I include with my dataset?

Metadata describes your dataset to others in a standardised way. Having good quality metadata helps people discover and use your dataset. This guidance provides a description and examples of good practice metadata when releasing on data.govt.nz.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand what attributes of metadata to provide when releasing an open dataset.
  • How to describe a dataset so that others are able to reuse it more easily.

When preparing to release Open Data on data.govt.nz you should include the following metadata properties alongside your downloadable data files.

You will also need these same values when you add your dataset to data.govt.nz. 

There are a number of other technical metadata properties you can submit alongside your dataset on data.govt.nz these are covered in full detail in the data.govt.nz metadata schema.

Title 

The title should be descriptive enough that a member of the public can have a reasonable expectation of its subject. It should be long enough to be informative but short enough to be readily understood in isolation by someone outside your agency – for instance:

‘Production of veneer, plywood, laminated veneer, lumber, particleboard and fibreboard, 1951 to most recent’

Use the dataset title at source (eg on your agency website) for the download link, and as the Title metadata element on data.govt.nz. 

Description 

This should fully describe the contents, purpose, source and structure of the dataset, and (where necessary) include any comments about its quality and reliability. 

For datasets that have a spatial extent (relating to a geospatial or geographic area) or temporal extent (relating to a period of time), note this in the description. 

Include any notes or cautions that may help reusers assess the data’s suitability for their purposes. It may also be appropriate to note the version. 

Use the description at source as the baseline information about the dataset, and as the Description metadata element when listing on data.govt.nz. 

For a description example, see https://catalogue.data.govt.nz/dataset/beacon-special-purpose-general-points-hydro-1-4k-1-22k

Tags/keywords 

Related keywords help others find your dataset, you can list these in your metadata along side your dataset and provide when you list it on data.govt.nz.  

File formats and resources

If you have your dataset available in multiple formats (CSV, KML, XLS, PDF etc), or want to include accompanying documentation, data dictionaries etc alongside your dataset, you can provide these as separate resources in your dataset in the data portal.

Each file can include:

  • the location you have uploaded the file publicly
  • a title and optional description
  • the file format (data.govt.nz will try to automatically determine the file type if you leave this blank)

  

Contacts 

Provide a named contact point, telephone number or email address (ideally both) for queries about the dataset, both at source. 

Dates 

The dates of creation of the original dataset (where known) and its last update should be provided. If not known, the date of last update may be available in the metadata of the file containing the data. 

Frequency of update 

If the dataset is refreshed at regular intervals, indicate this in your metadata. If the Frequency of Update options on data.govt.nz don’t apply, provide this information in the Description.  

Licensing  

Provide the name and URL of the Creative Commons license you are using to make the data available for legal reuse by others. For example, "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International" would link to https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ .

If you are not using a Creative Commons licence or have your own terms of use for your dataset then provide this separately in a "Rights" property or in your metadata description and leave out the "License" property. 

Rights 

If you have a custom license, certain conditions or caveats for use of your dataset that aren’t in a standard open license then you can list these in a separate "Rights" property or include in your dataset description. This helps users understand that there are some aspects of the dataset to be aware of when being reused that are not covered by a standard open license. 

Last Updated: 02/03/2018 10:11am