A metadata template for ocean acidification data

Friday, 19 December 2014
Liqing Jiang, National Oceanographic Data Center, Silver Spring, MD, United States
Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, and locates an information resource (e.g., data). It is often coarsely described as data about data, and documents information such as what was measured, by whom, when, where, and how it was sampled, analyzed, with what instruments. Metadata is inherent to ensure the survivability and accessibility of the data into the future. With the rapid expansion of biological response ocean acidification (OA) studies, the lack of a common metadata template to document such type of data has become a significant gap for ocean acidification data management efforts. In this paper, we present a metadata template that can be applied to a broad spectrum of OA studies, including those studying the biological responses of organisms on ocean acidification. The “variable metadata section”, which includes the variable name, observation type, whether the variable is a manipulation condition or response variable, and the biological subject on which the variable is studied, forms the core of this metadata template. Additional metadata elements, such as principal investigators, temporal and spatial coverage, platforms for the sampling, data citation are essential components to complete the template. We explain the structure of the template, and define many metadata elements that may be unfamiliar to researchers. For that reason, this paper can serve as a user’s manual for the template.