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Related information

Meaning & purpose

The RelatedInfo element is intended for linking to resources located outside the RDA Registry, but can also be used for linking to objects within the Registry. It is described using an Identifier, which ideally resolves to a web page providing contextual information about the object or entity being described. There are no restraints on the kind of information that can be linked to including parties, activities, collections, services, reuse information, or reference to a publication or thesis based on a research data collection. Examples include a publication arising from the data described in a collection or a research grant in which the collection is an output.

RelatedInfo has a Type (optional), and a number of child elements that can be used to describe the related information or resource:

  • an Identifier, and its Type, are mandatory.
  • a Title for the related information. A title is optional, but recommended, particularly when the identifer used is not resolvable. eg. ISBN
  • Relation,  to describe the nature of the relationship between a registry object and related information.   Relation is optional, but if used, a Relation Type must be specified. Relation contains the optional child elements:
    • Description—a plain text description further refining or describing a relationship. Optionally, the language of the relation description metadata can be recorded in the language attribute.
    • URL—a URI expressing or implementing the relationship.  For example, the URL for a collection implemented by a related service.
  • Format  can be used to identify an alternative metadata format or schema where the Related Information Type is ‘metadata’. Format is optional.
  • Notes providing additional information about the object being described. Notes can be used to record citations for related print or electronic publications. A note is optional. 

Related Information attributes

Related Information Type

A Related Information Type is optional. If used, preferably specify a type from the Related Information Type vocabulary. Local types may also be used.

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any formally published document, whether available in digital or online format or not


any publicly accessible location containing information related to the collection, activity, party or service


information that supports reuse of data, such as data definitions, instrument calibration or settings, units of measurement, sample descriptions, experimental parameters, methodology, data analysis techniques, or data derivation rules. This may include:

  • data dictionaries, data definitions, interpretations of column and row labels and table names, explanation of data values
  • data models or descriptions of how the data is structured and organised
  • scientific models
  • scientific workflows
  • software or software configuration
  • instrument calibration or settings
  • sample descriptions
  • experimental parameters
  • methodology
  • data analysis techniques
  • data derivation or transformation rules


data quality statements or summaries of data quality issues affecting the data


another metadata description for the object (i.e. in a schema other than RIF-CS). This enables linking to more specific metadata that can then be consumed by software tools via automated download or by the user. For collection records, this is most likely to be a discipline or system-specific format such as NetCDF or ANZLIC. Party records could point to formats such as EAC-CPF or FOAF.


information about how the data being described was derived or produced; including events (creation, assemble, annotate, and transform etc), when and where an event happened, which instruments or software were used and who was involved.


an undertaking or process related to the creation, update or maintenance of a collection


an aggregation of digitial and/or physical resources which has meaning in a research context


a person, group or role related to the creation, update or maintenance of a collection, to an activity or to the provision of a service


a system (analog or digital) that provides one or more functions of value to an end user

Related Information Identifier Type

A RelatedInfo Identifier and its Type are required. Preferably specify a type from the Identifier Type vocabulary. Local types may also be used.

Relation Type

The kind of relation (Relation Type) can be described using any of the  existing relation types for related objects. Optionally, choose from the Collection Relation Type (publication) vocabulary below to describe the relationship between collections and publications. Local values can also be used, for example, if a data source has described different relationships according to a standard schema. Ad hoc local values should be avoided.

Collection Relation Type (publication)


indicates that B includes A in a citation


indicates A is used as a source of information by B


indicates B is documentation about/explaining A


indicates that A is a supplement to B


indicates that B is a supplement to A


the cited entity (or A) presents statements, ideas or conclusions that are reviewed by the citing entity (or B)


the cited entity (or A)  receives intellectual or factual support from the citing entity (or B)

Note: The values above for relations between collections and publications have been selected from the  DataCite Metadata Schema v.3 and CiTO, the Citation Typing Ontology.

Use in Research Data Australia

Identifiers are displayed within Research Data Australia as provided by the data provider and prefixed with the identifier type.

Parties (persons or groups) related to an object using RelatedInfo (type="party") will display in Research Data Australia in the title bar, directly underneath the registry object's name. The name will display  if: this is provided in the Title element of RelatedInfo, or where the Identifier provided in RelatedInfo is "matched" to the same identifier provided in another registry object. Otherwise, the Identifier provided in RelatedInfo will display.

For related information of all other types, the information will display in the main body of the record in Research Data Australia under the appropriate heading for the type, eg. Related Organisations, Related Services, Additional metadata, Related Publications, Related Websites etc.

Best practice

Include links to related information which provide research context for understanding the registry object being described. For example, adding a related publication to a collection object can provide rich contextual information to support data reuse.

RelatedInfo or RelatedObject?

Registry objects can be linked to a related collection, party, activity or service in one of two ways:

  1. using an Identifier in the RelatedInfo element, OR
  2. using the Key of an (existing or new) related RegistryObject in the RelatedObject element.

As Research Data Australia is primarily a collections registry, it is preferred that a RegistryObject be created to describe collections. However, consider whether you need to create a RegistryObject for parties. Research Data Australia treats parties linked via RelatedObject or RelatedInfo in almost exactly the same way: the indexing and display of names are equivalent; however, an advantage of using RelatedObject is that reverse links are generated from the Party Object, allowing all collections related to that Party to be displayed when a Party name is clicked on (this functionality will hopefully be available with RelatedInfo links in a future release). The advantage of using RelatedInfo is that it is the simplest (and most sustainable) way to link parties to collections, activities and services with a globally unique persistent identifier (preferably an ORCID).

Whichever option is chosen, contributors are strongly encouraged to provide a globally unique persistent identifier such as a DOI, ORCID or PURL in their records. Identifiers support a linked data approach that enables relationships between resources to be identified and displayed in Research Data Australia regardless of the source of the record.

XML encoding examples

RelatedInfo of Type "service"

<relatedInfo type="service">
 <title>Marine Virtual Laboratory Information System</title>
 <identifier type="uri"></identifier>
 <relation type="presents"><url></url></relation>
 <notes>Provides visualisation of data with changes to parameters supported</notes>

RelatedInfo of Type "party"

<relatedInfo type="party">
 <title>Ross Wilkinson</title>
 <identifier type="orcid"></identifier>
 <relation type="hasCollector"></relation>

RelatedInfo of Type "publication"

<relatedInfo type="publication">
 <title>Turbulence measurements in estuarine systems</title>
 <identifier type="uri"></identifier>
 <relation type="isCitedBy"></relation>
 <notes>Smith, J.(2013) Turbulence measurements in estuarine systems. Journal of Water Quality, vol.2, pp.2-9</notes>

RelatedInfo of Type "metadata"

<relatedInfo type="metadata">
  <title>SMART Metadata System record</title>
  <identifier type="uri"></identifier>
  <notes>This is the ANZLIC version of the record</notes>

Change history

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DateChange history
April 2010Consultation draft
26 October 2010RIF-CS v1.2.0 change information added
22 July 2011Added advice to include any related publication citations in the relatedInfo notes element
30 Sept 2011Added clarification that links to https are acceptable, removed obsolete RIF-CS v1.0.1 example, added information about upcoming new types, re-use information and data quality information
21 Nov 2011RIF-CS v1.3.0 related info types added (reuseInformation and dataQualityInformation)
29 Nov 2011Added link to information about URL display
2 Nov 2012Added metadata to RelatedInfo Type list
26 Jul 2013

Added more information about metadata type including an xml example

26 Nov 2013Information about the changes associated with RIF-CS v.1.5.0 added: RIF-CS v1.5.0 expanded the intended usage of the relatedInfo element to include activities, collections, parties and services. This option allows for the linking of a registry object to a related resource using an identifier, as an alternative to creating a new registry object for the related resource. Also the addition of RIF-CS "relation" as a sub-element; the additon of Relation Types and the addition of new Related Information Types for activity, collection, party and service.
21 Nov 2014Added information and example to demonstrate linking to a data collection within a related service
26 Nov 2015Added provenance as type. Introduced with Release 18.
17 July 2017Content completely reviewed and updated. Updated purpose and best practice to include linking to objects within the RDA Registry.
20 June 2018Updated best practice advice regarding linking resources using relatedInfo vs relatedObject. Added an XML encoding example for a party.
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