Metadata Guidance for Data.wa.gov Publishers

Consistent descriptions, categories, column definitions and other core documentation (metadata) make content easier to find, understand and use. This documentation is also a great way to help the public learn more about your agency's services and value.
Following is guidance about how to generate good metadata, and where to get support.

Required metadata

The nine metadata fields listed to the right are required for data.wa.gov content.
Licensing metadata is encouraged, but won't be required until options are better clarified. As more assets include completed metadata, the open data program will explore opportunities for additional standardization of fields like Attribution and Posting Frequency, and more consistency for tags.
Core metadata includes the title, description, attribution, time period covered, posting frequency, category, tags, email contact, and column descriptions.

Guidance for generating good metadata

Not sure how brief your Brief Description should be? Can't decide how to tag your content? The following guidance tells you what to cover, how to place key information, and where to turn when you need help.

General Metadata

How to choose a good title, description and other non-column metadata documentation.
A screenshot of the top-level metadata guidance table

Column Descriptions

What else to say about the "name" column, and why you should doublecheck data types.
A screenshot of Column Description guidance table

Getting help from humans

You don't have to struggle alone with metadata documentation. If you've read through guidance and are still stuck, ask for help from some of these people:
  • Colleagues who classify: Get in touch with your agency's taxonomists, librarians, metadata repository stewards or other staff who organize content. They do this for a living! They may be able to provide ready-made descriptions, glossaries and other content, and keep terms consistent across sources.
  • Communications staff: Column descriptions, Notes and other metadata offer the chance to help the public understand your agency's services and their value to the state and its residents. Communications staff can help with clarity and context.
  • Open data program staff are always ready to support publishers. Contact Open Data Program Manager Cathi Greenwood (cathi.greenwood@watech.wa.gov) and Kathleen Sullivan, open data librarian at the Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State (kathleen.sullivan@sos.wa.gov). You can also click the Contact Dataset Owner button from the guidance primer pages.