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University Metadata Policy
The purpose of this policy is to establish a mandate for the creation, capture and preservation of metadata on University corporate data assets and define the associated metadata principles, with the intent of ensuring that metadata:
  • provides increased meaning and understanding to the University’s corporate data;
  • improves the quality of the University’s corporate data;
  • enables better management of the University’s corporate data; and
  • improves the “findability” and accessibility of the University’s corporate data.
This policy relates to all University corporate data assets and their associated metadata.
This policy will be used to facilitate the promulgation and take up of metadata management practices within the University. It will help improve the quality of metadata being captured and ensure that the University can realise the benefits of proper metadata management.
Metadata is important to the University as it describes the corporate data being captured and provides context and meaning to it. It also enables the better management of our unstructured data assets.
The metadata principles outlined below must be adhered to for metadata management to be successfully implemented and to achieve the desired business benefits. The principles have been broken down into the five main activities associated with metadata management to give them more meaning and context.
  1. Metadata is to be captured for all University corporate data assets where it adds value or has a defined purpose.
  2. It is the responsibility of all University staff to capture metadata as required.
  3. Where possible metadata is to be captured as close to the point of creation of the University corporate data asset.
  4. Metadata is to be captured, where possible within the source system or application the corporate data assets are generated and managed by.
  5. Where and when possible metadata is to be automatically generated by the source system or application for the corporate data asset.
  1. The University will have a standard metadata classification scheme and metadata will be captured based on the following metadata standards:
    • ISO/IEC 11179 specifies the kind and quality of metadata necessary to describe data, and it specifies the management and administration of that metadata in a metadata registry (MDR) (http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=35343);
    • ISO 19115:2003 defines the schema required for describing geographic information and services. It provides information about the identification, the extent, the quality, the spatial and temporal schema, spatial reference, and distribution of digital geographic data (http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=26020);
    • Australian Standard AS 5044.1 and 5044.2 – 2002, AGLS Metadata Element Set and Usage Guide;
    • Australian Standard AS ISO 23081.1- 2004, Information and documentation— Records management processes— Metadata for records Part 1: Principles.
  2. The University’s Business Classification Schema (BCS) (available on request from the Corporate Records Information Manager) is to be used as a reference for metadata naming conventions.
  3. Metadata will be rationalised to ensure that the amount of metadata being captured is optimised, isn’t being duplicated and redundancies are removed;
  4. Metadata is to be validated against the University’s classified terms and vocabulary ensuring that it is easy to understand and inconsistencies are minimized.
  1. The University will have a central repository to store metadata on its corporate data assets. This repository will provide greater accessibility, “findability”, and management of the University’s corporate data assets.
  2. Metadata relating to corporate structured data assets is to be stored where possible against the data element it describes within the University’s data warehouse.
  3. Metadata relating to corporate unstructured data will be captured and stored in the source systems used for the management of these assets to provide context to the corporate data asset within the bounds of that system. However this metadata is to also be stored within the central metadata repository to allow easy access to it and provide the ability to analyse and report on it more holistically.
  1. It is the responsibility of the Data Stewardship Working Group and Web Content Management Working Group to provide governance on metadata and its management within the University.
  2. It is the responsibility of the Data Stewardship Working Group, Web Content Management Working Group and data custodians to provide validation for metadata being captured.
  1. Metadata is to be used by the University’s corporate search tool to enable better access to and retrieval of the corporate data asset it is describing.
  2. Access to the metadata in the data warehouse and in the central repository, for the purpose of analysing and reporting, will be restricted to University staff with a requirement or business need.
  3. Access will be authorised/granted through the Data Stewardship Working Group and Web Content Management Working Group.
Responsibilities for implementing this policy are set out in the metadata management procedures.
Staff responsible for metadata include all general and academic staff employed by the University under continuing, fixed-term, casual or temporary arrangements, whether on a full-time, part-time, fractional or sessional basis. It also applies to Adjuncts and Visiting Appointments; elected or appointed members of the University Council, committees and boards; as well as agents, consultants and contractors who are engaged to perform services and, when applicable, outsourced functions.
The policy is governed under the Territory Records Act 2002.
Supporting Information:
Other related documents
Documents related to this policy are:
  • Data Management Strategy;
  • Enterprise Content Management Strategy;
  • 03_Data_Stewardship_Group_Terms_of_Reference_v1.doc;
  • ITM Policy Manual - Records Management
Terms Definitions
Data Stewardship Working Group University of Canberra working group responsible for providing the governance function for its corporate data assets.
Findability Is a term for the ease with which information/data can be found. It is generally used in a web context. However within the context of this document it relates to the ease of which University corporate data can be found.
Web Content Management Group University of Canberra working group responsible for providing the governance function for online services and content.
Metadata Is structured data about data. It describes the characteristics of a data item, such as its name, location, perceived importance, quality or value to the organisation, and relationships to other data items.
Metadata Management Metadata management is the activities associated with ensuring that metadata is properly created, stored, and controlled so that inconsistencies and redundancies are removed.
Structured data Is any data that has a predefined structure or model. Data in a relational database is an example of structured data.
Unstructured data Is a generic label for describing any corporate information that does not have a predefined structure or data model.  Unstructured data can be textual or non-textual.  Examples of textual unstructured data are web page content, email messages, Word documents and instant messages.  Examples of Non-textual unstructured data are JPEG images, MP3 audio files and Flash video files.
University corporate data assets Is any data created or owned by the University or its staff that is considered to be of corporate value or importance. This data can be either structured or unstructured.