Metadata Field Definitions

Referenced from:

Required Metadata

  • Title. A clear name for the dataset that does not include dates and limits the use of California or CA. See guidance on writing titles.
  • Description. A plain description that will display below the title on the open data portal. See guidance on writing descriptions. The description field can accept markdown formatting for creating things like bullets and headers using text (see markdown guide)
  • Tags. Descriptive keywords or phrases that users will search for to find the data. These can be used for providing common synonyms, legal references, and other shorthand users may use to find your data. You don’t need to repeat terms that are in your title or description and should avoid using generic terms that could apply to almost any dataset (opendata, open, transparency, etc.). Must provide at least 1 and separate each tag by a comma.
  • Publisher. This is the organization you’re publishing on behalf of (your agency, department, board, or commission).
  • Topic. One of the following:
    • COVID-19
    • Economy and Demographics
    • Government
    • Health and Human Services
    • Natural Resources
    • Transportation
    • Water
    • Note: if you are publishing on an agency or department portal, these will be different. In this case, the topics are automatically mapped from agency and department portals to the statewide portal.
  • Frequency. How often you intend to update the data resources. One of the following:
    • Irregular
    • Continuously updated
    • Hourly
    • Daily
    • Twice a week
    • Semiweekly
    • Weekly
    • Biweekly
    • Semimonthly
    • Monthly
    • Every two months
    • Quarterly
    • Semiannual
    • Annual
    • Biennial
    • Decennial
  • Program Contact Name. The specific group inside the agency, department, board or commission that produces the data that can best answer questions about the data.
  • Program Contact Email. The generic email address for the program referenced above. (e.g. [email protected])
  • Public Access Level. For data to be shared with the public, always Public. Other options on the portal not currently applicable.
  • Rights. Always enter “No restrictions on public use.”

If-Applicable Metadata

  • License. Default to Public Domain unless there is a valid business reason to select a different open license.
  • Author. The agency, group, department, board, or commission that authors the data resource and has ultimate responsibility for the creation of the data. If this is the same as the publisher, no need to enter. Use this field if your organization is publishing on behalf of a different author (research institution, other local or federal organization, etc.) or if you’d like to indicate a division or program as the author. If the author is actually another State entity, they should publish the data. Rare exceptions will be considered.
  • Spatial/Geographic Coverage. The geographical area the data table covers (e.g. statewide versus a sub-state region like the Bay Area). Specification should include a named area that also names California (San Francisco Bay Area 9 County Region, California) and may include geographic coordinates. In general give enough description so people can determine it's location if comingled with other non-California datasets.
  • Temporal Coverage. Start date and End date for the data in your data resource. Entered as a range using ISO8601 formatted date strings (e.g. 2017-01-01 to 2020-12-31)
  • Homepage URL. URL for the page on your website that has useful information about the data resource or the group that updates it. It's a webpage that gives context about the data and cross-links to the open data.
  • Data Standard. This is used to identify a standardized specification the dataset conforms to, if any. Provide a URI directly to the website that describes the standard. You can find a reference list online at
  • Language. The language of the published data and metadata.

Optional Metadata

  • Granularity. Specify the smallest unit of analysis represented within the dataset. This can apply to both geography (address, parcel, census block, etc.) or time (year, month, day, hour, etc.)
  • Additional Information. Enter any additional notes or information you’d like to highlight. Note, if you find yourself putting lots of information here, consider putting it in the dataset description.
  • Related Content. Enter secondary source(s) info: If your data resource is partially made from other data sources, please provide descriptive name(s) and/or URLs of resource(s) from which the data table is derived.