Metadata and README lecture - 13.09.2022

On the 13th of September, 2022, ELIXIR-Estonia will hold a data management lecture: Metadata and README. This lecture will be held in English. 

In general, metadata is the descriptive information about your data. However, what exactly is metadata, and how much of it should be included with your data? 

Good metadata can make up for human fallibilities. People forget and misplace things and leave research projects with their knowledge of the research methodology and the data. Metadata ensures that we will be able to find the data, use it, preserve and reuse it in the future.

  • Finding Data: Metadata makes it much easier to find relevant data. Most searches are done using text (like a Google search), so formats like audio, images, and video are limited unless text metadata is available. Metadata also makes text documents easier to find because it explains exactly what the document is about.
  • Using Data: To use a dataset, researchers need to understand how the data is structured, definitions of terms used, how it was collected, and how it should be read.
  • Reusing Data: Researchers often want to reuse data collected for another project for their own project. The data still needs to be found and used, but often at a higher level of trust and understanding. Reusing data usually requires careful preservation and documentation of the metadata.

This means that the metadata provides additional information that helps data consumers better to understand the meaning and the structure of the dataset and to clarify other issues, such as rights and license terms, the organization that generated the data, data quality, data access methods, and the update schedule of datasets. Additionally, metadata also gives information about the data in general. What an actual metadata file includes varies between disciplines and types of data you are working with. However, the documentation for your data should contain the minimum information required to be able to reuse (or understand) the data described. 

In the lecture, we will be going over what exactly metadata is, the minimum information that should be included with each of the scientific results you are sharing, and how exactly you can write a README file. 


Information about the lecture

Dates: 13th of September, 2022 at 14:15 (lecture, 2h)

Place: Delta Building, r1022 (Narva mnt 18), TARTU

Register: CLOSED

Registration closes at 23:59 on 08.09.2022 or when the course gets full.


Learning outcomes for the participants: 

  • Understands the importance of good data management
  • Knows what metadata means in data files
  • Knows how to add metadata to the data
  • Knows what should be included in the README file
  • Can write a simple README file to accompany the data


F2F lectures will take place at the Delta building in Tartu (Narva mnt 18, Tartu). 

Parking: You can park for free for 3h in the parking lot of the University of Tartu Academic Sports Club. 

We do ask you to register for the lecture responsibly. If you can’t attend the course, please let us know as soon as possible via email at