Metadata for publishing training courses and training materials

19 July 2022

For some time now, there has been a desire to make training materials more FAIR in order to increase the retrievability of existing materials and promote their reusability. Within the Interest Group Education and Training on Handling Research Data (ETHRD) of the Research Data Alliance (RDA), a task force has examined the minimum metadata required when publishing training materials.

First, existing activities and publications in this area were examined. Subsequently, practical examples were used from various perspectives to work out a minimal metadata set for the publication of training materials. On June 9, 2022, the recommendations of this task force were published in the report “Recommendations for a minimal metadata set to aid harmonised discovery of learning resources“.

In addition to the set of recommended minimal metadata, consideration was also given to what type of fields these could be, what values can be expected in them and what controlled vocabularies can be used in the so-called data dictionary. A mapping was also made of the metadata fields to, for example,, so that in the event of publication, the findability through search engines such as Google will be increased. The current publication is not yet the intended end result.

All kinds of research infrastructures publish training materials in catalogues and there has been a desire for some time to create a metadata set for these materials that is not domain specific. This will allow different catalogues to integrate each other’s metadata much more easily, making the materials even more visible and findable. The metadata set has already been implemented in the catalogue of the SSHOC project (‘Training Discovery Toolkit‘) – a project that focuses on implementing the social sciences and humanities (SSH) part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The metadata set is currently also being implemented in various training catalogues, including in the knowledge hub of the EOSC within the project EOSC Future.

With the minimal set, a start has been made on standardised metadata to describe training materials. More work will be needed to expand the model and ensure that it is widely implemented. To start with, it would be great if the showpieces of training materials could be published in this way so that others can also find and reuse them.

Figure: Minimum set of metadata for training materials, p. 2 of the publication: Hoebelheinrich, N. J., Biernacka, K., Brazas, M., Castro, L. J., Fiore, N., Hellström, M., Lazzeri, E., Leenarts, E., Martinez Lavanchy, P. M., Newbold, E., Nurnberger, A., Plomp, E., Vaira, L., van Gelder, C. W. G., & Whyte, A. (2022). Recommendations for a minimal metadata set to aid harmonised discovery of learning resources (Version 1.0). Research Data Alliance.

Do you have questions about this news item?

Your name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ricarda Braukmann Ph.D.

Data Station Manager Social Sciences