What are Data

Research datasets and tools that relate to those datasets have a value of their own, regardless of whether they are associated with published peer-reviewed literature.This means the datasets can have their own authors, permanent identifiers (PID) and a description.

In CanWIN, we have datasets, data files and collections. A data file can originate from an instrument or piece of equipment with multiple components that produce data. Hence, data can come as a single file (.csv or .xlsx) or as a combination of files (i.e. zipped folder).

Image of dataset with single files for downloading (top picture) and a dataset with compressed, zipped files for downloading (bottom image).

A data file may be any format, but are typically in the form of a spreadsheet (.csv or xlsx), script, image, document, or other resource that you want to make available for the purpose of advancing scientific knowledge. Multiple resources may be included as part of a single dataset (e.g. zip folder), depending on how you wish to define and describe your data.

Even if your data is not ready to share, you can share the “metadata” (the Who, What, When, Where and Why about your data) with others so they know about your work.

Understanding the Data

Every CanWIN dataset or project contains at minimum the following information:

  • Description - the dataset description provides a summary of the data as provided by the data publisher.
  • Metadata Statement - the metadata statement provides the who, what, when, where, and why for the data. It includes information such as the data authors and curator, keywords, temporal and spatial extent - the geographical area covered by the data - and any limitations on how it is to be used.

The Metadata is provided in human readable PDF (document) and html formats as well as machine readable formats such as XML and schema.org. Click here to learn how to download this resource.