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About metadata standards

About metadata standards: approval process and registration authorities

Metadata endorsed for use within an organisation or across Australia are referred to as data standards and describe the expected meaning and acceptable representation of data for use within a defined context.

The development of metadata standards improves quality, relevance, consistency and comparability of national information about the health and welfare of Australians. The drivers for standard development arise from the need for better information - whether it is statistical, administrative, clinical or other information.

Benefits of metadata standards include:

  • Consistency of content and definition, ensuring that data users can clearly understand the meaning regardless of how the data is collected or stored. Standards provide transparency of data definitions.
  • Reduced duplication and diversity, providing a common and consistent platform for organisations to work from; simplifying the development process by reusing existing standards; and improving the path to adoption and implementation at the local and national levels.

Approval process

In Australia, metadata items that have been endorsed through the well-defined METeOR approval process that includes expert groups, registrars, data and information committees and registration authorities become metadata standards. These processes ensure the metadata is constructed correctly, is reusable and accurately describes the underlying data.

Expert groups

Expert groups are nationally recognised subject matter experts (e.g. a national committee of diabetes care specialists), who Undertake initial development of national metadata standards. METeOR provides a private workspace for such groups to create a draft item. This item is assigned a registration status of Incomplete.

Once the expert group has agreed upon the item the registration status of the item is changed to Candidate, and is submitted to the Registrar for consideration.

Registrars

A Registrar acts on behalf of a registration authority to manage metadata items through the endorsement process. A Registrar will undertake a quality assurance review of the Candidate item, notifying the expert group of any concerns. Once any concerns have been resolved, the Registrar advances the registration status of the item to Recorded.

The Recorded item can then be submitted to the relevant national data or information committee in the health, aged care, community services, early childhood and housing and homelessness sector.

Data and information committees

The data committee reviews the Recorded item, and if accepted is advanced to Qualified registration status. Qualified items that are successfully reviewed by the committee are then assigned a Standard status and referred to the relevant Registration authority.

Registration authorities

Registration authorities are responsible for endorsing data standards applicable to each sector.

The registration authorities of the applicable sector/s review the recommendations made by the data or information committee and assigns Standard status to the item. This Standard item is then made publically available for use in a broad range of settings.