Using Relationships in Resource Metadata

Using Relationships

HydroShare lets you record relationships between your resource and other resources that are shared in HydroShare or in other locations. For example, you may want to store a relationship between the dataset you have created in HydroShare and a journal paper that uses or cites that dataset.

Relationships are stored as part of the metadata for a resource and can refer to or link to other information associated with a resource.  Each relationship is a text field that may hold a link (expressed as a URL) or full reference information for a related resource.  Where possible, the relationship field should not be limited to only a URL, but should hold full bibliographic information for the referenced resource. HydroShare also allows you to specify the type of relationship you want to store. The following relationship types are supported:

Hosted by: If your HydroShare resource references content that is hosted on another site, you should use this relationship type to refer to the location where the resource is hosted.  For example, you could use this relationship type  to indicate the site that hosts a model.

Copied from: If your HydroShare resource is a copy of another HydroShare resource or of content that is hosted or exists somewhere else, you can use this relationship type to refer to the location from which the content in your HydroShare resource was copied.

Part of: Use this relationship type to refer to another resource that your  resource is part of. “Part of” relationships are automatically created when a resource is added to a HydroShare collection resource.

Executed by: Use this to refer to a resource that may execute the current resource, such as the model program associated with a model instance. This relationship type enables you to maintain the relationship between a model instance resource and the specific model or models that can be used to execute it.

Created by: Use this relationship type to refer to a resource that created the current resource. Examples include a model program resource or a web app that created the current resource. This relationship type is meant to help store provenance about the tools or software used to create the resource. To describe who created the resource, use the Author or Contributor metadata instead.

Data for: Use this relationship type to refer to a resource that your HydroShare resource has been used in. Examples include another HydroShare resource that uses data from your resource, a journal paper that uses the data, or a graduate thesis or dissertation. This relationship type is meant to help you store information about other resources that were created using the content from your HydroShare resource.

Cites: Use this relationship type to refer to a resource that your HydroShare resource cites. This is a way for you to create a list of references for your resource. You can cite papers, websites, etc.

Described by: Use this relationship type to refer to a resource that describes your HydroShare resource. For example, you might want to store a relationship with a paper, news item on the Internet, or other media type that describes the content of a particular resource.


Linking your resource with a publication

Relationships provide a way to associate a HydroShare resource with a publication.  Data published in HydroShare and used in a paper should be cited in the paper’s reference list using the DOI for the resource published in HydroShare.  For example:

Tarboton, D. (2017). Logan Specific Catchment Area, HydroShare,

The HydroShare resource should then refer back to the paper using an isDescribedBy or isDataFor relationship.  For example:

The relationship type to use depends on whether the paper serves to describe the data (use “Is Described By”), or just use the data held in the resource (use “Data For”).

If the Journal Publication is Not Yet Accepted…

It is important to realize that you cannot edit a HydroShare resource once it is formally published, and adding a relationship is considered an edit.  So, you need to leave the HydroShare resource public but unpublished during your paper’s review process, and in the paper cite the resource as follows:

Author’s last name(s), year. Title of Hydroshare Resource, HydroShare. Resource URL.

For example, this resource;; will have the following citation in the journal paper submitted for review:

Tarboton, D., 2015. Logan Specific Catchment Area, HydroShare.

Then, when the paper is accepted for publication and you are confident that your HydroShare resource and its metadata will no longer change, you should change the citation to the HydroShare resource in the References list in the paper  during the copyediting/publication process to:

Tarboton, D. (2017). Logan Specific Catchment Area, HydroShare,

Note that HydroShare uses the following pattern when creating DOIs:


The DOI uses hs. Followed by HydroShare’s internal identifier for your resource, which is created when you first create your resource in HydroShare. You should anticipate this pattern for the DOI of your published HydroShare Resource, even before it is formally published in HydroShare, and the DOI registered, and when finalizing a paper for publication, you should change the reference to your HydroShare resource to use the URL that contains the DOI.  As soon as the published paper has a DOI, you should then edit the HydroShare resource to add an “isDescribedBy,” or “isDataFor” relationship that points to the paper. Once you have done this, you can formally publish the HydroShare resource.  Note that upon submittal of a resource for formal publication in HydroShare, it will be checked for completeness by CUAHSI during the DOI registration process.

If the resource components are copied from an external source

Sometimes a user would like to archive a specific version of a resource that is published by an external source so he or she can link it with other resources in the HydroShare system. This is a common use case, especially, for the model program as users may want to archive a frozen copy of a specific model version that is officially published by the model provider, in the HydroShare system. This way it can be used with other model instance resources to guarantee the reproducibility of the same model instance resource output. For example, the EPA-SWMM model version 5.1.010 is used to execute a specific model instance use case that is archived through HydroShare. Therefore, there is a need to preserve a copy of this specific model version in HydroShare to guarantee the reproducibility of the same model instance resource output. A copy of this model was archived in the HydroShare system and the “isCopiedFrom” relation is used to keep the credits for the official source using the official website where the model originally existed. By using this relationship, the following citation was generated automatically by the HydroShare system:

Rossman, L., T. Schade, D. Sullivan, R. Dickinson, C. Chan, E. Burgess (2017). Storm Water Management Model (SWMM),, accessed 6/30/2017, replicated in HydroShare at:

Relationships with Model resources

There are several relationships that can be used with the model resource types in HydroShare. For example, a model instance resource can be related to the specific resource that executes it using the “ExecutedBy” relation. This model instance resource that includes the post-processed input data can be also be related to the resource containing the raw data in the HydroShare system using the “DerivedFrom” relation. This model instance can be combined with other resources in a collection resources type. The “IsPartOf” relation can be used to indicate the collection resource that the model instance resource is a part of. For example, the “ModflowNwtSciunitOutput” MODFLOW model instance resource is derived from (“DerivedFrom” relation) a generic model instance resource, “ModflowNwtRawData”, that includes the raw data. It is executed by (“IsExecutedBy” relation) a composite resource, “ModflowNwtSciunit”, and is a part of (“IsPartOf” relation) a collection resource, “ModflowNwtCollection.” When a resource is made a part of a collection resource, that relationship is indicated on the resource’s landing page with the text: “This resource belongs to the following collections:” (see screenshot below)