Describe Data and Models with Metadata

Metadata is information that describes data, or “data about data”. The HydroShare resource landing page has a metadata template with required and recommended elements. For your resource, consider what information is necessary to make the data reusable and the science reproducible. More metadata information in HydroShare Resources.

The following tutorial provides some best practices for filling in the resource landing page. The resource used in this example contains data used to generate the results for the journal publication An urban observatory for quantifying phosphorus and suspended solid loads in combined natural and stormwater conveyances. For more details on describing and organizing resources, check out the Guide for Data Authors and Publishers.

To edit an existing resource, click on the pencil icon screencapture of small pencil icon in the top right corner of the resource landing page to edit the metadata and content. Switch from edit mode to preview mode by clicking the arrow icon.

Required Fields 

To ensure the resource is interpretable and can be made public, the required fields (title, abstract, keywords) must be completed, and the resource must contain files. Examples of these fields are given below.

Title: The title should describe the content of the resource. Consider including the data type, location of collection, and date range of collection.

Example: Grab Sample Data for the Northwest Field Canal in Logan, UT, USA

Abstract: Use the abstract to put the content in context, including the rationale for the data collection or modeling. It should generally describe the methods of data creation - i.e., what you did, why you did it, how you did it, when and where you did it. The Abstract can also include a description of the resource content and organization to help a potential user navigate the various files. 

Example: This resource includes water quality samples collected within the Northwest Field Canal, located in Logan, UT and from stormwater outfalls that drain to the canal. These data were collected to with the purpose of developing surrogate relationships between in situ parameters and total suspended solids (TSS) and to determine spatial loading patterns in the drainage. Samples were collected manually and via an ISCO 3700 automated sampler. These samples were then analyzed for TSS), total phosphorus (TP), and total dissolved phosphorus (TDP). Methods implemented for sample collection and analysis are described within the resource.

Keywords: Select keywords that are descriptive and thorough to facilitate discovery of your data. Add keywords for the category of the data, variables included in the dataset, methods for data generation, and the associated geographic area. Unique acronym-like keywords may also be used similar to hashtags in some social media. For example, “iUTAH” as a keyword facilitates discover of resources associated with the iUTAH project.

Example: Northwest Field Canal,  Suspended Solids, Utah Logan, Water Quality,  Urban Stormwater, Phosphorus

Screencapture from or the top section of a resource landing page containing the example title, abstract, and keywords from above.


Use descriptive and meaningful file names. Where many files are included in a resource, a README file that describes each file and the organization of the resource as a whole can be very useful in helping others understand the content.

Readme File

For HydroShare to render the README file on the Resource Landing page, like shown below, it must be in Markdown formatting

Example: The data are organized into folders divided by the data types (GIS_Data, Supplemental_Data, TSS_TP_TDP Sample Dat)a, a pdf explaining the methods, and a for detail on the content and organization of the files and folders, which is shown on the resource page.

screencapture of the content section of the resource landing page for the resource "Grab Sample Data for Dissolved Organic Matter Study in the Northwest Field Canal in Logan, UT". Image shows the rendered readme file below the content box, displaying the contents of a readme file, with the header

Recommended fields 

We recommend that you fill out as much metadata as possible to improve interpretation and reuse.

Spatial and Temporal Coverage

Use these metadata if the data or model in the resource has a geospatial “footprint”/location or a temporal component/time window. Including appropriate spatial and temporal coverage can help others discover your data if they are searching within a specific geographic location or over a specific time period.

There are multiple ways to set the spatial coverage of a resource:

  1. Manually fill in the coordinates
  2. Use the map to define a point or box
  3. You can add content files to your resource that have spatial coverage information (e.g., geographic feature, geographic raster, multidimensional, etc.) and click the button to set the coverage from the content files. After doing this, you may set the resource level coverage from the file coverage by scrolling back up to the map and slecting set spatial coverage from content files. 

screencapture from of resource level spatial coverage. The header says "resource level spatial coverage" and below there are subsections for spatial coordinates in decimal degrees, place/area name, Nort/South latitude and east/west longitude, and temporal coverage with a start and end date. to the right of teh text field is a map view with a transparent square over an area to the west of Utah State Univeristy

Additional Metadata

Use Additional Metadata to add Name and Value pairs to define terms in your data or methods.


Use the References section to link sources or related content.

Sources: If the data in your resource were derived from another source or dataset, cite or acknowledge it as a Source by adding a full text citation, a web link, or text describing the source of the original content. For example, link to another HydroShare resource from which your data were derived.

Related Resource: Use Related Resources to link your resource to other content (within or outside of HydroShare) by adding a link or citation. Where possible, use the full bibliographic information for the referenced content rather than a URL alone and specify the type of relationship between resources. The example below links the resource and the associated journal publication using the relation type: “The content of this resource serves as the data for.”

Scrrencapture of related resource metadata field. Below heading Related Resource, is the text "the content of this resource serves as data for" and is followed by a citation for a paper by Melcher et al. 2017.


Use the credits section to acknowledge Funding Agencies and Contributors to your work. Funding Agencies can be any organization, group, or agency that provided funding related to the resource.

When you begin typing hte name of the funding agency or entity that funded your research, HydroShare will present a drop down list of repositories for you to choose from. We recommend that you select a funder from the list of known funding agency names.  

Contributors are people or organizations that worked on or supported efforts to create the content but are not authors.

How to Cite

This section provides the citation for your resource and allows you to select the creative common attribution license that best describes the rights held in and over the HyrdoShare resource. Options include (from least to most restrictive):

Attribution: Other users may make derivative work with proper citation. 

Attribution Share-alike: Others may make and distribute derivative work under a license identical to and not more restrictive than the license that governs the original work

Attribution, No Derivative Works: Only exact copies can be distributed, alternate versions may not be created or 

Attribution, No commercial, Share-alike: May distribute with attribution only for non-commercial purposes, derivative works allowed. 

Attribution, No Commercial, no Derivative Works: Only exact copies with attribution may be distributed, for non-commercial purposes.