4.3.3 Administrative metadata

Administrative metadata are collected for the effective operation and management of data storage and catalogues. This administrative information, covering various topics, is stored along with the datasets. From a data re-use perspective, the key role of administrative metadata is to cover access conditions, rights, ownership and constraints. Generally, administrative metadata can include (https://www.archives.gov/files/preservation/technical/guidelines.pdf):

  • version number
  • archiving date
  • information about rights, reproduction, and other access requirements
  • archiving policy
  • digital asset management logs
  • documentation of processes
  • billing information
  • contractual agreements
  • end of life of the data

The method for storing administrative metadata depends on the specific archive or repository. Many of the items above need to be stored at least as supplementary documentation, according to repository/catalogue guidelines, if not directly as attributes of a dataset. The administrative metadata also have a role in data protection: defining processes, personal data management, access rights and keeping track of (for example) periodic backups.

For online data catalogues covering FOT/NDS/CCAM, information about a contact person/organisation and licensing options or required agreements must be included, so potential analysts know how to gain access to a dataset. Another required administrative feature of a catalogue is usage logs of information queries and retrieved data, to be able to summarize the level of interest for different datasets. Assigning persistent identifiers for datasets is necessary for references and citations. Some persistent identifiers like the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) also support dataset version management. Each time there’s a change in the data, a new DOI can be assigned, depending on the repository’s versioning policy, and a log of changes collected. As an alternative, a fixed dataset reference could be used in publications when the dataset has been used.  The SHRP2 Insight portal (https://insight.shrp2nds.us/terms), for instance, regulates a dataset reference in the terms of use.