Using Metadata Actively


  • Colin Bird University of Southampton
  • Simon Coles University of Southampton
  • Iris Garrelfs University of the Arts, London
  • Tom Griffin STFC
  • Magnus Hagdorn University of Edinburgh
  • Graham Klyne Nine by Nine
  • Mike Mineter University of Edinburgh
  • Cerys Willoughby University of Southampton



Almost all researchers collect and preserve metadata, although doing so is often seen as a burden. However, when that metadata can be, and is, used actively during an investigation or creative process, the benefits become apparent instantly. Active use can arise in various ways, several of which are being investigated by the Collaboration for Research Enhancement by Active use of Metadata (CREAM) project, which was funded by Jisc as part of their Research Data Spring initiative. The CREAM project is exploring the concept through understanding the active use of metadata by the partners in the collaboration. This paper explains what it means to use metadata actively and describes how the CREAM project characterises active use by developing use cases that involve documenting the key decision points during a process. Well-documented processes are accordingly more transparent, reproducible, and reusable.







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