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Research Data Management for the Health Sciences: Metadata and Ontology Schemas

Research data is becoming increasingly important. This Medical Library guide will introduce you to research data management skills, and connect you to relevant services and resources across the Yale Campus.

Best Practises in Metadata Schema

  • If you submit your research into a data repository, you may be required to format your metadata using a metadata standard. Consult the repository you will be using to determine what their metadata requirements are. 
  • In order to determine if your research is applicable to a discipline specific metadata schema, consult one or more of the following: 
  • In addition to using a metadata standard, you may wish (or be required) to use ontologies or controlled vocabularies to create your metadata, whether or not you are using a general metadata schema, or a discipline specific metadata schema.

General Metadata Schema

Discipline Specific Metadata Schema


Ontologies are shared vocabularies that are used to describe components of a particular discipline and the relationships among these components. By using ontologies, you make it easier for others (or even the future you) to understand your data. Controlled vocabularies, on the other hand, are merely lists of predefined, authorized terms.

Here are some examples of ontologies and controlled vocabularies currently in use in a variety of disciplines: