On this page we'll attempt to help you address some of the common data management questions that come up when working on metadata.
Multiple datasets containing the same information
A very common issue you may face is what to do with multiple versions of the same dataset. Do you need to create metadata for every one? Not necessarily. Determine which version is the best - the one you have the most information about, the one that is the most accurate, the one that is the most up-to-date - and create metadata for that dataset. Of course, if you've gone through the Instructional pages in this website, you now know that you can use that metadata document as a template to quickly create metadata for all of the versions of the dataset. Just remember to identify the differences between the versions in the metadata so that you can find that "best" dataset when you need it.
Not having the "best" dataset
But what if you don't have a "best" dataset? What if the dataset you have is just "okay"? You may be wondering if you should keep this dataset or remove it from your database. If this is your only version, keeping it may be better than throwing it away. If the dataset is the only one you have, but the information is wrong, is keeping it worthwhile? Can you do anything to make the data better? Is there any information available that will make the data more usable? It's a good idea to do some research before you delete any data.
A significant data management issue for many parks is legacy data -- that backlog of existing datasets without metadata. Is it worthwhile, and required, to create metadata for all of the datasets? If any of these data will be posted to the Data Store or sent to other GIS users, they do need metadata.
The best way to deal with legacy data is to spend some time priorizing your data. Which datasets would be most suited to the Data Store? Which ones do you use most often? Which ones do other request from you most often? Document these in-demand datasets first and address the others as you have time. Perhpas a strategy of creating metadata for one legacy dataset a week would help you get over this organizational hurdle.
Organizing your datasets
What is the best way to organize all of the datasets you have? The answer to this question depends largely on your personal preferences and the issue, but here are some basic recommendations.