Clinical Decision Support Tools & Instructions
Research Data Management (RDM) is the practice of managing, organising and preserving all of the information used to produce research, from the initial planning and searching through to post-publication. Navigate through the blue tabs above to learn more. This data comprises of a range of records such as notes, spreadsheets, surveys, emails, published material and grey literature.
File management is very important and needs to be considered before the data is gathered. Folder structures or hierarchy needs to be selected together with naming conventions and then documented to ensure consistency. Being descriptive and consistent with organising and naming files will ensure the ability to locate them and understand what they contain.
What is metadata?
Metadata is information or documentation about data that provides a description of the content and any other characteristics relating to a dataset.
For example, metadata can include: file type, file size, date created, date updated, physical attributes, unique identifiers, key words describing the data, and anything that summarises information about the data.
Why is metadata important?
Metadata provides valuable information regarding:
Clear metadata documentation enables the data to be easily found. It allows other users to evaluate the content and determine if they wish to access it.
How is metadata created?
Metadata can be created manually or through automation via a computer or other electronic device. For research data, it is the researcher -- or another member of the research team -- who will create the metadata describing the collected data.
Metadata standards enable the best possible description of a resource type. Metadata Directory Standards is an open directory via Research Data Alliance.
When there isn't appropriate standards-based metadata available, a 'readme' style metadata file can provide information about a data file. This readme template from Cornell University provides information that should be considered when generating a 'readme' file.
Together file naming and version control are important practices for maintaining, tracking, and recording changes to files.
It is important to be descriptive and consistent when naming files and to develop conventions, record the conventions, and adhere to them. Ensure the file name make sense to you. Your file names could include:
File naming conventions
Below are some common conventions.
Accessibility and long-term preservation should be considered when deciding file formats. Open, unencrypted, and uncompressed file formats are easier to preserve.
Examples of preferred format choices include:
|Audio||AIFF, WAVE, MXF|
|Containers||TAR, GZIP, ZIP|
|Databases||prefer XML or CSV to native binary formats|
|Moving images||MOV, AVI, MXF|
|Sounds||WAV, AIFF, MXF|
|Statistics||ASCII, DTA, POR, SAS, SAV|
|Still images||TIFF, JPEG 2000, JPEG, PDF|
|Text||plain text (TXT), XML, PDF/A, HTML, ASCII, UTF-8|
Version control ensures the most recent file can be quick and easily identified and there is an audit trail of changes.
Managing changes can be done manually, by simply adding a version number or a date to the end of a file name, or with the use of version control software or tools.
Some useful links that cover both manual and tool-based version control:
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