Discussion Club Metadata PhUSE Brighton 2011

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Metadata Discussion Club at the PhUSE Conference 2011

We had about 25 Metadata enthusiasts gathering for a few hours to discuss aspects of Metadata and feed results directly into the PhUSE Wiki for further content development.

Areas covered were:

  • Definition of Metadata
  • Metadata Lifecycles
  • Defining a context for Metadata

Definition of Metadata

At the end of this discussion the group came up with the following definition.

“Metadata is a collection of information that puts data into context” O Other comments were made to help clarify the definition.

  • Metadata can be defined as either metadata or data depending on its use
  • Need to work at defining what context means and defining categories of context
  • Is a collection of information structured or not structured. The discussion led to collection being structured but the content could be unstructured.

Additionally, the purpose of collecting metadata must be driven by the needs of the business. (Examples to be added).


Metadata Lifecycles

Metadata should be created before datasets and analysis. Then, the datasets will be created and analyses will be done according to metadata. The well-thought, planned process will yield more complete metadata, but in most of cases, metadata will be modified during the process and will be completed almost at the same time, more accurately just before all the analyses and datasets are finished.


Defining Context

Within the definition of metadata, the word context was used. Now we must define the different aspects of context that will help better define concrete needs of metadata.

Aspects of Context:

  • Medical - the medical meaning of the information
  • Technical - how we physical collect, store, maintain, and communicate the metadata
  • Structural - What is the structure of metadata model that can support hierarchy and diverse relationships
  • Functional - What is the metadata in relation to (e.g. finance, operations, biometrics)

Applications of Context:

  • Development of the protocol/SAP
  • Collection of clinical data
  • Specifications for SDTM/ADaM data
  • Metrics to support operational aspects of a study
  • Reporting requirements
  • Submission
  • Reuse of clinical information for future study design or ad-hoc analysis

This is the current stage of the discussion. You are welcome to visit the Wiki and add your comments, suggestions and improvements to it to keep the content up to date and the discussion alive. Many thanks