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Metadata consist of information about data sets. Metadata describes the data set and does not contain the actual data itself. This is similar to the records in a card catalogue of a library. Each entry gives brief details about the book providing enough information to know what the book is called, its title and author, its unique number, how and where to find it and a brief description of its content. These bibliographic elements constitute an identification to the book.

Metadata are similarly an identification and a descriptor to a data set.

Some of the most important metadata elements are:

•  the name of the dataset
•  the collecting agency and the person responsible for the dataset
•  what is its intended purpose
•  date/time of collection
•  the type of data and methods used to collect it
•  the format of the data
•  the quality of the data
•  the geographical location of the dataset
•  any restrictions on the use of the data and how to gain access to it
•  a set of search keywords that describe the dataset
•  ancillary details about the data set such as related publications, previous analysis and usage etc, any derived products
•  who to contact for more information on the data

Metadata can be used for many applications. Most importantly it can:

•  concisely describe datasets and other resources
•  enable effective management of resources
•  enable accurate searching and resource discovery
•  provide an online interface to a dataset and link to other information about it
•  accompany a dataset when it is transferred to another computer so that the dataset can be fully understood, and put to proper use, and to duly acknowledge the custodian on the dataset.

National Inventory of Marine MetaData
- Access Database
- Submit new Record

National Inventory of Marine Research Projects
- Access Database
- Submit new Record

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