Adjust metadata for ongoing data

  • Title: Time coverage is “start date of data collection – present”.
  • Coverage dates: The metadata should reflect the temporal coverage of the data. DO NOT try to squeeze a word like “ongoing” into a dateTime field to reflect the nature of data collection. Instead, create a descriptive title, as in “Time-series of daily air temperature at site X, ongoing since 1992”.
  • Publication Date:  This is used in constructing a citation, so it’s best if this is updated in the new revision to reflect the date it was revised.
  • Maintenance: EML has elements where you can record the intended update frequency.
  • Specialized interfaces: Often instrument data will have a specialized web interface for query and download of near-real-time data. If so, this link belongs in the (EML field). TO DO: CONFIRM!
  • Table attributes: For tabular data, we recommend to plan carefully so that you only need to add rows of new data, not columns. That way you won’t need to add new table attribute descriptions to the metadata and you will keep the changes to the metadata to very few when adding new data. Also see here for “wide” and “long” table formats.

“Capping” off

Ongoing collections eventually end! Projects finish, the data have told you all it can, etc. You may not know for several years beyond the most recent update that there will be no more new data. If you have a categorized inventory, a good label for these is “Completed time-series”.

If you followed the practices above to describe a dataset as “ongoing”, you should update it one more time and make it clear that no more data are expected.

  • Title: Specify time period during which data collection occured.
  • temporalCoverage: The tags will already cover the time period, so there should be nothing to do (obviously, if there is one more data addition, make coverage match it).
  • pubDate: It may make sense to leave the pubDate alone (at the date of the last data addition), rather than to this revision. That will create coherence between metadata and data.
  • Maintenance tags: enter info stating that no more updates are expected.
  • Methods: If you have detailed text descriptions, you may want to make these past tense.