In this section we answer some of the most general and frequent questions we are asked. These answers are of course biased by our goal to establish a Helmholtz Data Space, the current knowledge, and current technical trends in research data management. We try to consider current community recommendations by e.g. RDA, EOSC or others, where it applies, but we may opt for alternative solutions where we think it supports our vision better.
Some of these recommendations may need to be adjusted in the future, but we strive to recommend activities, which already take possible future development into account.
For questions or comments please contact a team member closest or known to you, or write to email@example.com
1. I have a RDM project, like building a data repository for a project, a data index or some other kind of database. Which metadata schema is the best to use for that purpose?
The general first order answer to this is always: use what others from your community have been using already, so take a look at other community repositories, and evaluate, where your data is similar, and where the differences are. Try to keep the general procedures similar to make the data comparable with minimum effort. contact us, if you need support doing this.
However, you may want to do even better than others. Depending on the type of resource you describe, different properties need to be documented. Therefore, it is usually not possible to recommend one single standard for all types of resources.
In principle, we recommend using already existing metadata standards and protocols.
A collection on these can be found here: https://helmholtz-metadaten.de/en/earth-and-environment/Helpful_Information, or here: https://rdamsc.bath.ac.uk/
For many cases the DataCite standard is suitable for a basic or sometimes even complete description of a dataset. Even descriptions of additional resources can be linked using external relations defined in the schema.
You can find the documentation of the DataCite schema here: https://schema.datacite.org/meta/kernel-4.4/
In the case of spatial data sets, the specifications of the INSPIRE Directive may have advantages, because they contain fields suited for georeferenced data. and allow an easier integration and accessibility into web map services (WMS) or web feature services (WFS).
INSPIRE is based on the metadata schema of ISO 19115:2003/Cor.1:2006 (en) Geographic information — Metadata TECHNICAL CORRIGENDUM 1. The documentation can be found here: https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:19115:ed-1:v1:cor:1:v1:en
While ISO is a very detailed and powerful standard describing spatial data, persistent identifier (PID) references are not well supported. The increasing demand to implement PIDs requires agreements on how to accomplish this.
In the HMC, we are currently in the process of formulating recommendations for this and for other insufficient information for the metadata description and agreeing on them within the community. A portal is currently being set up for this purpose, see Community Platform: https://community.helmholtz-metadaten.de/
You are cordially invited to participate in the opinion-forming process.
2. I am documenting a data set or building a data repository. Which vocabularies should I use?
Like before, the general first-order answer to this is: use what others from your community have been using already. Depending on the type or scientific domain of resource you aim to describe, different vocabularies may be suitable. A thesaurus that has keywords for the respective discipline is useful.
Generally, we recommend using already existing vocabularies and thesauri. Here you find a collection: https://earth-and-environment.helmholtz-metadaten.de/node/terms/. For biological and biomedical data, you can also look here http://obofoundry.org/.
You should carefully consider what kind of semantic resource matches your needs. For many instances, you may not need a full ontology, or a fully developed vocabulary, but can use simple community agreed controlled lists. Contact us, if you need help with this.
3. Which tool shall I use to manage / present my metadata?
There exist numerous tools to capture and record but also to search and present metadata.
In general, you should not reinvent the wheel but identify and use already existing tools and application programming interfaces (API).
A collection of tools can be found here: https://earth-and-environment.helmholtz-metadaten.de/node/softools/
It is also advisable to look up the content of existing repositories in order to find the resource to be described in an environment that is specialized in this domain.
An outline from the research field “Earth and Environment” can be found here: https://earth-and-environment.helmholtz-metadaten.de/node/repos/
The best way to do this is to ask the research data managers within your centre. If your centre already has a data entry interface installed, you can get the access data there.