I loved Sarah Calaghan’s blog post “How is a scarf like a dataset?” I thought the analogy was quirky, but true, and it boiled the complex idea of describing, organizing, and managing data into some easy-to-understand concepts. For me, the most important piece of insight from her post was the aside:
(As an aside, I didn’t keep all the metadata about how I made the scarf and what yarn I used for it written down somewhere, which meant that when I came to write this post, I needed to work it out all over again. In other words, metadata should be collected from the start and stored somewhere safe, regardless of what it’s describing!)
What a valuable piece of information about data management! “Metadata should be collected from the start and stored somewhere safe, regardless of what it’s describing!” I feel like printing that out and hanging it on the wall of my office. I know I’ve mentioned my project before, but I’m currently trying to reorganize a massive amount of digital files, and the lack of metadata for the majority of this data has made its management a near-impossible task.
I thought that the Penn State guidelines for data management were incredibly helpful in providing the necessary steps to properly organizing a collection of data. I thought all of the elements listed in the data planning example chart were so important to the complete process of data management. I really hope to use these guidelines in my own project while I consider metadata creation, metadata extraction, data registries, long-term file storage, and all the other steps involved!