Data DNA: The Next Generation of Statistical Metadata

This discussion paper helps data creators and data users better understand the unequivocal importance of statistical metadata in their datasets. Statistical metadata is commonly defined as data about data, and is critical to ensuring that datasets are both useful and of high quality. Metadata documents information about a statistical dataset’s background, purpose, content, collection, processing, quality, and related information that an analyst needs to find, understand, and manipulate statistical data. As such, the metadata for a statistical dataset broadens the number and diversity of people who can successfully use a data source once it is released. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss issues related to the development and use of statistical metadata and to describe resources that support standardization and automation.