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August Muench

Aug 7, 2013, 12:06:20 PM8/7/13
Hi folks,

I was wondering if we might start a discussion about metadata templates in dataverse networks. I suppose the first question that I hope others will answer is, "Are you currently using customized templates?"  If yes, then what motivates the creation of a custom template? Users needs? Metadata requirements? 

We (Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics ; have tried to create simplified template(s) for guiding our users. We have run into the following list of issues with that:
  • The generic metadata model is hard to translate to a particular domain (astronomy). Many fields are unnecessary or require "translation" to a domain. We find it useful to have the ability to extend the metadata model with "custom Data Collection/Methodology" fields. Yet often the new fields are "fuzzy" similar to existing ones. 
  • Editing a template is a difficult UI to navigate. One suggestion was that the editing template interface was "responsive" to user changes. Instead of drop-down boxes for "Required/Recommended/Optional/Hidden", one person suggested that the UI respond to changes in this status by, for example, actually hiding the field from the UI. That way the built template "looks" like the final one the user will see. Replacing the drop down list with a more simply clickable (*/+/-/duplicate) option might also be a UI improvement.
  • When a dataverse admin clones and creates their own template they are re-exposed to the full metadata model. By creating simplified templates we were trying to prevent domain related confusion with terminology that they did not understand or could not effectively (re)use. In fact the one use case that we have found for a dataverse creator to "clone" a template is where they want to pre-populate the template for future reuse, which does not necessarily require the re-enabling/editing of which fields appear. 
I hope some of you will respond at the very least to the initial question of using templates. And if you have discussion about our issues that is most welcome as well. 


 - Gus

Durand, Gustavo

Aug 7, 2013, 1:12:38 PM8/7/13
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Hi Gus (and others),

Re: the third bullet - it is possible to remove fields from what dataverse creators see when they clone a template.

Hidden fields will not be available to the user, but will be available to the dataverse administrator for update in cloned templates. Disabled field will not be available to the dataverse administrator for update.

I'm looking forward to hear how others users are using templates and what issues they may have found with the experience.


On Aug 7, 2013, at 12:06 PM, August Muench <>

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Eleni Castro

Aug 8, 2013, 11:19:21 AM8/8/13
Hi Gustavo and Gus,

Similarly to your discussion on here.

I just received an email yesterday from a Dataverse Admin asking for the ability to hide parts of the template (Gus' third bullet) which most can be hidden but the ones that they want hidden when users fill out Cataloging Information cannot be hidden (Distributor, Distribution Date) since they are originally "Required" by the Network level template. The thing is that they want the Distributor field to show in the Data Citation, but since we auto-populate it already for them they dont want to confuse their users with having these fields available for them when they edit or create a study.

Hope this makes sense and I am requesting that they submit their feedback to this string.

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