Metadata - Data about Data
What the hell does that mean? A simple example in the electrophysiological context would be the sample rate with which the acquired data has been recorded. This may sound rediculous for everyone doing such an experiment should know how the data was acquired. But what if the data has to be shared in a collaboration? At least at this point this little peace of information is essential to make sense out of the shared data, it must not get lost over time.
The figure illustrates the Food-Chain of science. At the basis (on top) is the lab in which data is recorded, analysed and managed. All the arrows indicate the flow of data and metadata. We need metadata in order to analyse and interpret experimental data. If it comes to sharing of data with collaborators or also with the world (e.g. via G-Node) We need not only to pass the actual data but also lots of information about the applied stimuli, the settings of applied filters etc., i.e. metadata.
Talking about data:
Trivially talking about data requires that the same language is spoken. We currently develop such a language and the next release version of LabLog will be able to import such metadata. In order not to enter this information manually it would be easiest to have the recording tool (for example RELACS) writing all the known metadata to disk right at the time of recording. Usually the stimulation and recording programs already know the vast majority of metadata.