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Research Data: Documentation and Metadata

Data services provided by AUB Libraries.

Data Documentation

Data documentation is important because it helps the researcher to remember what each component exactly means and under which socio-technical conditions it was created or acquired. Also, it helps others to understand it, use it appropriately and cite it.

Things to Document

1- Establish a good file naming convention and follow it to name your folders and files.

2- Keep versions of the data before each alteration and document the changes that took place in each version.

3- Indicate which tools were used to generate the data or where did you get it from (provenance).

4- Include an explanation of all of the codes you used to label your data and name your files.

Metadata

Other information you would want to keep are:

1- Title: give a descriptive title to your data.

2- Creator: your name if you generated it, otherwise the name of the person/institution who did.

3- Dates: date of creation and/or date of acquisition.

4- Subject: Abstract, Summary and Keywords describing the content of your dataset.

5- Funders: funding agency or person's name if available.

6- Rights:  type of copyrights you want to apply to your data and the name of the rights holder. 

7- Language: in which the data is available.

8- Location: the place where the data was collected: i.e. geographical location

9- Methodology: How was the data generated, including equipment or software used, experimental protocol and other things you might include in a lab notebook.