Project promotion materials:

Data Management Policy/Procedure:

Software is available at:


Metadata Store Solutions

Project Members:

Vicki Picasso (

Dave Huthnance ( )

Kai Chen ( )

ANDS Contact:

Alan Glixman (

Project Status:


Newcastle Research Data Online: Stage 2

University of Newcastle

Project Description

The MS18 project has implemented systemic, automated and sustainable processes to feed and update required information (Party, Party Group, Activity records) from institutional systems (‘sources of truth’) to the UoN ReDBox/Mint Metadata Store. This minimises manual processes and the resourcing previously required to publish data collection records and their related Party and Activity records. The MS 18 project has implemented the required internal interfaces that allow the Mint to store, manage, and harvest Party and Activity records. These components underpin our ability to manage, describe and publish research data collection profiles to Research Data Australia.

Discovery and re-use of institutional data collections has been enabled by the design and implementation of processes to support an institutional registry of research data collections. This is realised with UoN institutional data profiles available via our institutional repository in addition to publishing records to the Research Data Australia portal. The availability of metadata records in both system ensure discovery by the global research community via Google and other major search engines.

The software, systems and workflows implemented under this project form a critical component of a greater e-research ecosystem at the university. These fulfil a niche role in both discovery and dissemination and provide the university with the ability to strategically align the metadata store internally with research data storage and researcher workflows as well as externally with national initiatives to identify both data and researchers.

The new ReDBox Reporting Module developed by UoN under this project provides an additional strategic mechanism enabling us to provide measures and evidence to demonstrate both value and impact into the future and over time.

The development of incoming alerts for ReDBox relating to new and completing research activity also allows us to promote data management services in context to the researcher’s workflow.

The creation of automated processes to deliver metadata to describe Parties and Activities has provided the opportunity to ensure high quality metadata. This is primarily through the sourcing, of as many as possible relevant descriptive elements included within the RIF-CS schema. However, it is worth noting that there is a reliance on many of the metadata elements to be updated internally by researchers in local systems to ensure that information is up-to-date, robust and relevant. It was our experience that some rich metadata records, handcrafted prior to the MS18 project were replaced, when automated processes came online, with records that were inferior in metadata quality, i.e. less descriptive information, or no descriptive information (Parties). The benefit in providing automated, managed and updated descriptive data is weighed against the quality of the data that can be sourced and potentially publically re-used for each data field. In the interests of sustainable practices it has been demonstrated that some sacrifices in richness of metadata are inevitable. This issue also highlights the need for potential triggers and processes to encourage regular updating of researcher profile information in systems that maintain the ‘source of truth’. The other two issues that noticeably impacted on quality of metadata were currency of the information and the range and quality of language used across written descriptive elements in source systems.

The Metadata Stores project addresses the strategic management of internal university processes to enable us to align local data and systems with external processes and initiatives such as Research Data Australia and the National Library of Australia’s Australian Research Data Common – People Infrastructure (ARDC-PIP).

On a more granular level the Metadata Stores Project has enabled us to extend and build on the capability of existing infrastructure implemented under our ANDS Seeding the Commons Project. The project has also provided the ability to build internal interfaces between local systems containing sources of truth which in turn have enabled us to deliver an automated and sustainable service model for the future. In addition the project has afforded us the opportunity to contribute directly to the development of ReDBox to provide new reporting and statistics features as well as new embargo and ethics enhancements. The project has also implemented institutional notifications about new and completing research activity and has worked with the UoN Data Capture 17 project to enable automatic flow of xml records from the QuON survey tool into ReDBox, i.e. connectivity between Data Capture and Metadata Store.

Our project has also positioned the Metadata Stores infrastructure to align with the provision of sophisticated functions surrounding institutional data storage, space allocation and the curation process so as to provide the required linkages between our Research Data Store and ReDBox, and to provide services for researchers.

The benefits of having automated workflows and systems for collecting information around research data are that we are able to provide sustainable services to the researcher and for the institution which allows us to search, retrieve, create, and disseminate research data description profiles and assign Party Identifiers .

The benefit of having a single point of providing information about the institution’s data holdings to others, including ANDS, but also other more focused data portals such as the Atlas of Living Australia is the ability to provide a strategic centralised model of service and support. This in turns ensures that we continue to maintain and grow the skills and expertise of the staff working in this space which is directly linked to maintaining institutional capability and is key to future strategic planning in this space. A single point for providing information also ensures that as an institution we can take an holistic and strategic approach to services, support and resources. During recent years, and specifically linked to ANDS funded initiatives, this has also enabled us to be responsive to external national drivers and agile in our approach.

High Level Software Functionality:

RedBox and Redbox/Mint functionality