3. Submitting metadata

3.1. Why should I submit a record?

Hosting data and tools for others to use is great, but only if people know it is available, how they can access it, what they are allowed to do with it, and if they can quickly assess whether the data or tool is suitable for their purposes. By submitting a metadata record to MERIDIAN, the marine research community will be able to discover and locate your resources so they can put them to use. Taking the time to provide as complete of metadata as possible will increase the likelihood of interested users finding your record and may even be the beginning of a new and exciting collaboration.

Metadata is data about a resource. It provides a description and contextual information, including details about who made the resource, how it can be accessed, its technical specifications, and what times, places, topics, etc. it covers. In essence, a metadata record provides a user with all the information they need to determine whether a resource is useful to them, and whether they can access it.

The purpose of the MERIDIAN discovery portal is to connect members of the research community who have relevant resources to share with those who are looking for resources to use. Submitting records on your data and tools to MERIDIAN promotes a climate of re-use and reduced duplication of effort.

3.2. Creating individual metadata records

In order to submit individual metadata records to the MERIDIAN Discovery Portal, follow the process detailed below.

Six steps of the metadata submission process
  1. User Sign Up and Login

In order to track metadata submissions, we require contributors to create an account and login before they can access the submission form. You will be prompted to login when you click on the submission form if you have not already done so. To create an account, click the prompt below the login fields. You may also use the button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to login at anytime and access your account.

Benefits of an account include:

  • Saving in-progress submission forms to be completed later

  • Cloning previously submitted records to save time on future submissions

  • Editing previously submitted records

  • Saving metadata records found in the Discovery Portal to your ‘favourites’ list for more convenient access at a later time

  1. Choose a Record Type

On the submission portal, choose which of the five types of records you want to submit. Different types of resources require different metadata to be fully described. For example, software has specific technical details, while bioacoustic data may contain details on animal species recorded. Choose the record type that best suits the resource you are describing. If you are unsure about which type to use, refer to the Documentation pages or contact MERIDIAN for assistance.

Record type selection page, with Ocean Acoustics Software, Vessel Tracking Data, and Ocean Acoustic Metadata, with sub-options of Ocean acoustic data, Marine acoustic data, and Model outputs
  1. Enter Metadata

The submission form has been designed to be as simple to follow and quick to complete as possible. Depending on the resource you are describing, two to four tabs at the top of the form will allow you to navigate between required, recommended and optional metadata elements, as well as access the provided information in a convenient summary.

The four tabs of the bioacoustic form: required, recommended, optional bioacoustic info, and summary

Each tab contains several sections of fields related to a particular aspect of the resource, such as who created it or how it can be accessed. Each section has a mix of required fields, marked with an asterisk (*), and extendable optional fields that can be displayed by clicking the ‘Click for optional fields’ prompt.

Many of the sections can be repeated if necessary by clicking the ‘Add another…’ button at the bottom of the section. Where available, this should be used to split up information rather than grouping it into a single field. For example, if a resource has multiple creators, or is available in numerous formats, each of these should be entered in its own set of fields.

To keep track of where you are in the form and what as been completed, a navigation bar can be found on the right side of the screen, as shown here. Sections with a green checkmark are complete, sections with a red X have errors that need to be addressed. You can click on any of the titles to quickly move to that section in the form.

The navigation bar of the vessel tracking form
  1. Review and Confirm Submission

Once you have finished entering metadata, click the Summary tab at the top of the page to see a list of the information you have entered. Review these fields to ensure there are no mistakes or validation errors. If you need to edit anything, click the section title to be returned to that part of the form. Once you have confirmed everything is correct, click submit at the bottom of the page to send the information to MERIDIAN.

  1. Record Validation

Once a record has been submitted, staff at MERIDIAN will review the information to ensure it complies with data quality requirements. If there are any issues, we will verify the information with the person you listed as a metadata contact. This process normally takes 1-2 business days. The listed metadata contact will receive an email confirmation once your record has been processed and approved.

  1. Record Appears in Discovery Portal

As soon as a record has been validated by our staff, it will begin to appear in search results on the discovery portal, and users will be able to find and access your data or tools.

3.3. Bulk upload of records

For users, groups, or institutions holding large amounts of relevant metadata we propose to automatically collect metadata from your servers. This will likely require the development and implementation of a metadata crosswalk to ensure that descriptions stored in your metadata standard(s) are correctly mapped to the MERIDIAN Metadata Profile for Underwater Acoustic and Vessel Tracking Data.

We support the following 2 protocols to harvest metadata from other sources:

  • Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)

  • Catalog Service for the Web (CSW)

To assess your specific requirements and discuss the best way forward, please contact us via email (meridian@dal.ca).