Hi, I’m Claire Hainsworth. I work in the Data, Mapping, Modelling and Information team at the Environment Agency. Over the last few weeks, I’ve carried out a wholesale update of our metadata records on data.gov.uk.
Why did we do this?
Our metadata on data.gov.uk had been added in various ways over the past few years. The records we had didn’t mirror our internal records; they were out of date and varied in quality and content. As a result, they needed replacing so we can guarantee you have good quality metadata to accompany our data.
We have recently developed a brand new internal GeoNetwork metadata repository for use across the Environment Agency. It went live in October and we are now in the position where data.gov.uk can harvest our records, and our internal and external records are aligned. This means we are managing our records once internally so we always have a single version of the truth.
How did we do this?
I worked closely with our colleagues at Defra to remove over 200 old records on data.gov.uk and replace them with the correct versions. There was the potential that if we had removed the records before we harvested them we would have had no presence on data.gov.uk. On the other hand, if we had harvested the new records before we removed the old records we could have published duplicate records, and that would have been confusing for customers.
By working closely together, we were able to minimise disruption and get all the work done in less than a day.
To keep users informed we tweeted the day before explaining what we were going to do and the changes to the content and to the number of records users could expect.
Why are we shouting about this?
- We now have over 250 quality metadata records on data.gov.uk which support our Open Data
- There were no questions over the slight difference in numbers of our records on data.gov.uk – proactively tweeting possibly prevented this
- We have good internal processes in place for metadata to be created so we can support #OpenDefra, and the target of releasing 8000 data sets by June 2016
- Harvesting our records means we only have to manage an individual record once so we always have a single version of the truth
- We have recently published 119 LIDAR data sets, with metadata records published in a single day
Opportunities for making our metadata better
- Helping everyone understand that metadata is a valuable asset
- Making sure we review and update our metadata to maintain everyone’s confidence in it
- Helping our staff to pro-actively create consistently good quality records for all of our data
We’re very proud of our metadata solution and are working hard to embed the solution into the business. Having good quality metadata available to the public is an important part of our open data journey – there is no point in making data available if you hide it away.
- You can contact the metadata team at firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can find our metadata at: https://data.gov.uk/publisher/environment-agency