Customizable Metadata for Maastricht Data Repository

Customizable Metadata for Maastricht Data Repository

Maastricht Data Repository is now ready to work with domain specific metadata.
To achieve this feature we used a community supported standard (CEDAR) to translate a machine readable metadata description to a dynamic user interface.

With this update Maastricht Data Repository has:

  • A new general metadata schema designed by our team of Data Stewards;
  • The possibility to extend this new general metadata schema to your own needs;
  • The current metadata stored with collections will be converted to the new schema format;
  • A new function that allows you update your metadata any time, even after ingestion;
  • An improved landing page that shows all metadata of a collection and previous versions;
  • Improved machine readability for the stored metadata, the first step in making our API accessible.

UX changes

As the metadata is the core of our system, almost every page is affected by our new Customizable Metadata feature.
To make the transition easier we have summarized the changes per page.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Request project:
An extra field is added where you can select what templates can be selected by contributors for your project.

Create Dropzone
An extra menu pops up when creating a dropzone to select for what project the dropzone will be created and which metadata template should be applied (from the specified list)

View Metadata
The landing page of collections has been updated to show all metadata recorded for that collection

Edit Metadata (NEW!)
On the landing and collection detail page a new button to edit the metadata is added. If enabled by the project administrator, it is now possible to edit metadata post-ingest.

Project administrators can change the available metadata schemas that can be selected. Editing of metadata can also be dis/enabled for contributors.

Collection metadata conversion

To make all ingested collections compatible with the new metadata system the metadata.xml will be converted using the DataHub Extended schema. Below you will find a brief overview of how the different fields of the XML will be converted to the new format.

Extended fields

These fields were default in the metadata.xml but are no long part of the general metadata schema. We have added them to the extended to make sure the conversion does not result in any information loss.

  • Date - The general schema notes the ingestion data by default. However, it was preciously possible to add an additional date. E.g. when was the data collected;
  • Experiment information - This is very specific for some research, which is why it is omitted from the general schema. It contains information on the organism, tissue and measurement technique the data was collection with;
  • Contact Affiliation & Role - These fields are added to the Contact section of the general template to store the additional information of the old metadata implementation.


To provide a meaningful conversion, some default choices were made.

  • Contact was not a required field in the previous version. If the contact is missing in the metadata for a collection, the Principal Investigator of the project is filled in as a contact
  • The related publication is converted to a Related Identifier as a DOI with the relationship is documented by (please check this page for all the available options).
  • The Principle Investigator is added to the metadata as a contributor with role Project Manager
  • The Data Steward is added to the metadata as a contributor with role Data Manager
  • The Contact Affiliations are converted from free text to an ontology field

Note that you can always go into your collections and update the metadata if you feel we made the wrong choice for your specific case.

User feedback

The new metadata system has a large impact in the usability of Maastricht Data Repository.
We continuously strive for improving the Maastricht Data Repository upon users’ requests. Therefore we would like to invite you to be vocal about this new feature.

If you have any suggestions, or you would like to get started on a domain specific metadata template for your department
, please visit this how to on how to get started:

How to add a custom metadata schema

Contact us to get in to MDR:
Send email to

Feature requests that are already on the backlog:

  • Preview a metadata schema so that there is more information available when choosing which metadata(s) schema to use.
  • Have a user-friendly way to update the version of a schema and prefill as much as possible.
  • Copy metadata from a previous collection when ingesting multiple drop zones for the same project.