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Writing Good Metadata

Will you remember the details of your research project 20 years from now? If you gave your dataset to a collaborator, would they understand your variable descriptions? The chart below lists elements of good metadata. Use this to help ensure that your data will be understood by you and others for years to come.

Project Documentation Dataset Documentation
Context of data collection Variable names, units, and descriptions - e.g. "Culex_number" = number of Culex present
Data collection methods Explanation of codes and schemas used
Structure, organization of data files Algorithms used to transform data
Data sources used File format and software (including version) used
Data validation, quality assurance
Transformations of data from the raw data through analysis
Information on confidentiality, access and use conditions
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