The WISER metadatabase: the key to more than 100 ecological datasets from European rivers, lakes and coastal waters

Schmidt-Kloiber, Astrid; Moe, S. Jannicke; Dudley, Bernard; Strackbein, Jörg; Vogl, Robert. 2013 The WISER metadatabase: the key to more than 100 ecological datasets from European rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Hydrobiologia, 704 (1). 29-38.

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In ecological sciences, the role of metadata (i.e. key information about a dataset) to make existing datasets visible and discoverable has become increasingly important. Within the EU-funded WISER project (Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery), we designed a metadatabase to allow scientists to find the optimal data for their analyses. An online questionnaire helped to collect metadata from the data providers and an online query tool ( facilitated data evaluation. The WISER metadatabase currently holds information on 114 datasets (22 river, 71 lake, 1 general freshwater and 20 coastal/transitional datasets), which also can be accessed by external scientists. We evaluate if generally used metadata standards (e.g. Darwin Core, ISO 19115, CSDGM, EML) are suitable for such specific purposes as WISER and suggest at least the linkage with standard metadata fields. Furthermore, we discuss whether the simple metadata documentation is enough for others to reuse a dataset andwhy there is still reluctance to publish both metadata and primary research data (i.e. time and financial constraints, misuse of data, abandoning intellectual property rights). We emphasise that metadata publication has major advantages as it makes datasets detectable by other scientists and generally makes a scientist’s work more visible.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0018-8158
Additional Keywords: aquatic metadata, ecological databases, online query tool, data accessibility, intellectual property rights, Water Framework Directive
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Data and Information
Date made live: 29 Nov 2012 14:07 +0 (UTC)

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