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Help & guidance Guides to Good Practice

Project-level metadata

Mark Gillings and Alicia Wise, with contributions by Mark Gillings, Peter Halls, Gary Lock, Paul Miller, Greg Phillips, Nick Ryan, David Wheatley, and Alicia Wise. Revised by Tim Evans, Peter Halls and Kieron Niven (2011), Archaeology Data Service / Digital Antiquity, Guides to Good Practice

As discussed in Documenting data creation, the documentation which accompanies a data set should enable a third party to make sense of the data. In addition to the specific documentation suggested in Documenting data creation, in particular the Dublin core metadata and in the general Project Metadata section, the table below outlines a set of project-level metadata that should be completed for GIS datasets.

Project Title
History of the Originating Project the purpose of the project
topic(s) of research
geographic and temporal limits
other relevant information
Information about Methods methods used to create the data set
methods used to georeference data
consistency checks
error corrections
sampling strategies employed
other relevant information
Details of source materials used to create the data set archives interrogated for desktop assessments
maps used to georeference site grids or surveys
previous excavations/evaluations of the site
data selection or sampling procedures
procedures for updating, combining, or enhancing source data
description of any known copyrights held on source material
Content and structure of data set list of filenames and description of contents
description of identification numbers assigned
list of codes used, and what they mean
description of any known errors
indications of any known areas of weakness
details of derived variables or coverages
data dictionaries, if available
documentation of record conversion to new systems and formats
description of the record-keeping system used to document the data set
names of primary project staff
history of format changes to data set
history of how the data set has been used
other relevant information
Details of how the data set relates to other archives and publications bibliographic references to any publications about the site or project
information about any archives, museums, SMRs, NMRs, etc. which hold material related to the data set
information about any non-public material relating to the data set