Documenting Data (Metadata)
Documenting data is important for data sharing and reuse. Documentation, also referred to as metadata, may include a data dictionary that describes variables as well as any contextual information (e.g., instrument settings, environmental conditions, spatial locations, etc.) needed to understand the data.
This information may take the form of a "readme" text file and/or machine-readable metadata. When possible, metadata should be created according to established standards and best practices. For more information, see the following guidelines from the the University of Minnesota Libraries and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Digital Curation Centre maintains a browsable and searchable page on metadata standards and tools for a variety types of data.