The Ohio State Universities | University Libraries | Resource Guides


Policies and Regulations

What is metadata?

Metadata is the documentation and context which makes your data re-usable. It includes both file-level information and overarching project information. Metadata is best collected systematically and continually throughout the research process. Examples of metadata include:

  • rationale for the research
  • descriptions of experiments
  • methods, protocols, or other standard practices
  • units of measurement, dates, times, 
  • analyzes, including justification for missing values, transformations, quality assurance procedures, etc. 
  • where your data are stored and backed-up
  • definitions of any acronyms, terms, or codes (sometimes called a data dictionary or glossary)

For more information regarding keeping metadata in lab notebooks, check out MIT's Instructions for Using Your Laboratory Notebook