The aim of this lesson to make you understand the importance of metadata, and how it affects “FAIRness”. Also to understand what a metadata standard is, as well as what ontologies are and how they can be found, and used, to describe your data.

By the end of this lesson you will:

  • Understand why you need to describe your data with metadata
  • Understand basic characteristics of controlled vocabularies and ontologies
  • Know what a metadata standard is
  • Understand how to document what standards you use for your data
  • Know how to find suitable ontologies to use to describe your data


This lesson requires a working copy of spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel or LibreOffice or (see more details in “Setup”). To most effectively use these materials, please make sure to install everything before working through this lesson.