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What Scientists Want: Requirements Part 2

Posted in UC3

I’m in the process of posting the requirements we are submitting for the DCXL add-in.  These are the capabilities we want the proposed add-in to have, based on discussions with scientists and other stakeholders.  For more information, read my previous post and check out the new Requirements page for more details about each of the proposed the requirements.

Requirement 3: Generate metadata that is linked to the data file

Scientists want help with metadata.  The world of metadata standards, schemas, and programs are overwhelming. There are already journals, techniques, statistical programs,  and proposal calls to keep track of; metadata doesn’t make the list of things that researchers frequently worry about.  We want the add-in we develop to make metadata generation easier.  Scientists are already using Excel; wouldn’t it be great if creating metadata for your spreadsheet were as easy as opening a new tab and filling out a form? We think so.

metadata plate
Hopefully you aren’t THIS nerdy about metadata. From Flickr by Shira Golding

This capability has all kinds of challenges: How do we handle the many different metadata standards? Can repositories request a particular standard via the Excel add-in? Is there a way to automatically populate some of the metadata fields based on information stored on the computer? What is the relationship between the data file and the metadata? This are all tricky questions, but we are optimistic that this requirement will result in the most useful capabilities for Excel.

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