Providing Metadata for your Datasets on HDX

Metadata is data about data or data that defines or describes other data. Metadata is additional information or documentation about your dataset that will make it easier for others to understand and put your data into context. Datasets on HDX must include certain metadata fields. The following table lists these metadata fields and provides guidance on how to fill them in. Some metadata fields are required for all datasets, and some are only required when you are ready to make the dataset public.

The metadata fields listed above are not exhaustive. They are the most common metadata fields found in agreed metadata standards. You can provide additional metadata as required. A best practice is to include a readme text file as a resource in your dataset that contains additional metadata or links to the metadata. Mention this file in the description field of the dataset so that users are aware of the additional information.

Resource Metadata Fields

Metadata field
Guideline for using the field
Required for private and public datasets Name This field will be populated with filename of your file by default.
Not required Note Use this field to provide a concise description of the file (e.g. This file is a zip archive containing 10 excel worksheets).
Not required File Type Use this field to specify the file format of the resource. If the resource is a zip file containing a single set of shapefiles, then you may specify ‘ZIPPED SHAPEFILE’ to enable the geo-preview function on the resource.

Dataset Metadata Fields

Metadata field
Guideline for using the field
Required for private and public datasets Title of Dataset Use this field to provide a concise title for your dataset.The keywords in your dataset title are matched to the search terms users enter when looking for data in HDX. Avoid using abbreviations in the title which may not be familiar to all users. Also avoid using words such as current, latest or previous when referring to the time period (e.g Latest 3W) as these terms become misleading as the dataset ages.

Example Dataset Title: Who is Doing What Where in Afghanistan, Jan – Dec 2014
Required for public datasets Description Use this field to provide a detailed description of the dataset. The description should expand on the location, subject matter and time period from the dataset title. For instance, you may specify the sub-national coverage of a dataset or list the indicators that are contained in the dataset. If you make use of an additional metadata file, then mention this fact in the description field. Keep the description to no more than two paragraphs. If the column headers or attributes in the dataset are not easy to interpret, you can define them here or in a separate metadata file that you upload.

Example Description: This dataset contains Who, What, Where (3W) data for Afghanistan. The operational presence of the various organisations (who) by sector (what) and location (where) at district level is presented. The dataset covers activities carried out in 2014. The 3W for Afghanistan is updated on an annual basis.  Please refer to the readme.txt file for complete metadata.
Required for private and public datasets Dataset contains sub-national data Use this field to indicate whether the dataset contains data that is disaggregated beyond the national level. The field is checked by default. Uncheck it if your data is only at the national level.
Required for private and public datasets Source The source of the data is the entity that has collected or generated the data. The source should not be confused with the organization that has shared the data. Use acronyms rather than full names of the source where possible. In cases where there are multiple sources, list all the sources separated by commas. Enter ‘Multiple Sources’ in this field if the list of sources is very long. Provide the complete list of sources in an additional metadata file.

Example Source: FAO, UNICEF, WHO
Required for private and public datasets Organisation Use this field to select the organisation under which you are sharing the data. Your selection will be limited to the organisations where you are an administrator or editor. The dataset will appear on the organisation page of the organisation that you select, as long as it is set to public viewing (see ‘Visibility’ below).
Required for private and public datasets Maintainer This field includes the username of the person who added the data. It is generated automatically by the system. However, the field can be edited so that another member of the organization is listed as the maintainer of the data. This selection determines who receives messages from HDX users who have questions or comments about the dataset.This information will not be displayed to users on the website, but is available through the HDX API.

Example: myusername
Required for public datasets Date of Dataset Use the Date of Dataset field to specify the date that the data contained in the dataset was collected. Alternatively, use the Date Range field to specify the date range that the data pertains to. You can only specify either the Date of Dataset or the the Date Range, not both.

Example 1: 31/12/2014 (Date of Dataset)
Example 2: 01/01/2014 – 31/12/2014 (Date Range)
Required for public datasets Location Use this field to list the location(s) to which your data relates. You can select one or more locations. If your data is more or less global in nature, you may select ‘World’ as the location.

Example Location: Uganda
Required for private and public datasets License Use this field to select a license under which you are sharing the data. The full set of licenses can be found here: Select ‘Multiple Licenses’ if your dataset contains data that is licensed under more than one license. In this case, the various licenses should be made explicit in an additional metadata file. Select ‘Other’ to specify terms of use that are not covered in the licenses provided through HDX.
Required for private and public datasets Define License Only required if you select ‘Other’ for the license (see above). Use this field to state the terms under which you are sharing the data.

Example: Licensed under  a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This means that the data can be used only if the source is attributed. The data can not be used for commercial purposes. Any derivative works must be shared under the same license.
Required for public datasets Methodology Use this field to select the methodology that best describes the way the data was collected. Select ‘Other‘ if you would like to describe a methodology that is not included in the methodologies listed.
Required for public datasets Define Methodology If you select ‘Other’ for the methodology (see above), use this field to describe the methodology that was used to collect the data.

Example: This data was collected as a combination of health ministry records and direct observation.
Required for public datasets Update Frequency Choose the approximate frequency with which the dataset will be updated.

Example: Every week, every month, every year, never, etc.
Not required Caveats/Comments Use this field to provide any other pertinent information about the data. This may be issues affecting the quality of the data or limiting its fitness for use for a particular purpose (e.g. the data from one of the locations in the dataset is an estimate from a previous survey because the location was inaccessible).

Example Caveats: The admin level 2 value was used in instances where the data for admin level 3 was unavailable. This happened in 15% of admin level 3 locations, mainly in the south of the country
Not required Tags Use this field to provide keywords for faceted searches of your dataset. Limit the number of tags to 4 or 5. Use one word tags whenever possible. As you begin to type in a tag, you will be provided with a list of existing tags to choose from. It is better to select an existing tag from the list than to create your own. It is often worth the effort to also add the common synonyms for the tag. Add a ‘geodata’ tag if your dataset contains geographic data used in GIS systems. It is not necessary to add the same locations that you selected in the ‘Locations’ field as tags.

Example Tags: cholera, health, wash, water, sanitation
Required for private and public datasets Required for public datasets Not required

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