About Metadata

What is metadata and why is it collected?

Metadata is the information that describes the dataset. It is often referred to as the data of data and describes the who, what, where, when, how, and why the data was collected. Metadata provides the context to a user. You can think of it as the questions you might want to ask the person who collected the data to help you understand it. Also, it informs users on any limitations to its use and how often it is updated.

By organising information using a common set of terminology, metadata allows datasets to be compared and categorised, not only with one another (such as when you search in CanWIN) but with freshwater and arctic datasets globally.

What metadata does CanWIN collect?

CanWIN provides users with seven different metadata templates designed to enable sharing of information based on category. The 7 types of metadata templates are: Project, dataset, campaign, deployment, platform, instrument and publication.

In each template, the metadata is divided into the 7 key sections listed in the table below. Not all templates will contain all sections of metadata. The most complete metadata template is the "Dataset" template. This template can be used to share information about your research even if your data is not available. Required fields in all templates are indicated with a red asterisk beside them (*). 

CanWIN Metadata Sections
Overview Brief description of the data
Time & Location The when and where of the data
Provenance Information about how the data was collected and analyzed
Constraints How you can use and share the data
Credits Who collected the data
Supplemental Resources Any other information about the data that may exist in another location but the data publisher want you to know about
Publications Any documents produced about the data

CanWIN follows the ESIP Science on Schema.org and DataCite 4.4 Metadata Schema standards. To maximize discoverability of your data, CanWIN works with CCADI to give users the ability to cross-walk (convert) metadata of interest to additional standards (ex. Dublin Core, ISO 19115-3:2003), facilitating interoperability and therefore re-use of your data by other systems. Metadata is provided to CanWIN by the custodians of each dataset. CanWIN data curators can work with you to submit your metadata in as much detail as you need.

How do I view the metadata?

On a project or dataset page, the metadata can be:

  • downloaded from the ‘Export metadata’ button on the Dataset View page. Here you can export the metadata in a variety of formats

Red box highlighting export metadata button on dataset page.

  • under the ‘Metadata’ heading at the bottom of the page. Each metadata statement contains multiple tabs divided into the categories described in the table above

Red box highlighting the 7 metadata categories at the bottom of a datast page.

Data Levels

Every Dataset in CanWIN is assigned a curation level based on data provider input. This system helps users understand how your data can best be used by them.

View Data Levels