Documentation and Metadata for Quantitative History

Documentation and Metadata for Quantitative History

1. Introduction

Documentation provides the essential context to enable interpretation and use of data; metadata is a subset of documentation in structured forms that can easily be read and converted to different formats by computers. The provision of good documentation is particularly important for heavily structured quantitative and statistical datasets in a number of ways. For example, numeric tabular data may be quite impenetrable without proper labelling and explanation of how the data was compiled; relational databases similarly need careful documentation of the relationships between database tables.