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  • Pre-RIF-CS v1.3.0 (December 2011), rights information was described using Description Types "rights" (collections) and "accessRights" (collections and services). Existing feeds can continue to use these description element types, but use of the Rights element is preferred.

  • Description Types "researchAreas", "researchDataProfile", "researchSupport" and "logo" were introduced in October 2012 to support the display of Contributor Pages in Research Data Australia. As of April 2015 (Release 15), the requirement for these Description Types has been negated by the implementation of a Contributor Page editing interface in MyRDA, which allows the upload of logos for automatic display on collection and service records and embellishment of Contributor descriptions. Therefore, these Description Types are no longer supported in Research Data Australia.


  • Write the description for a reader who has general familiarity with a research area but is not a specialist—this will make data more accessible for cross-disciplinary use.
  • Don't use specialist acronyms or obscure jargon.
  • Don't assume a reader has specialist knowledge.
  • Include important keywords within the text—this makes them accessible for search engines. Also include the keywords as subjects.
  • Collection descriptions should be consistent with the assigned collection type. If describing a dataset, the description should be about that dataset, not just a general description of the research that created the dataset.
  • Reuse of abstracts or research proposals can be a useful source for a collection description, as long as it is appropriate to the collection being described. Headings (such as 'Abstract' or 'Executive summary') should not be imported along with the abstract if possible. Descriptions of projects themselves, as opposed to descriptions of the resulting collections, should be included in an activity record.
  • Include a description of the kinds of objects in a collection (e.g. database, printed photographs, digital images, lab notes) and the basis of selection for objects included in the collection (e.g. information about how data was analysed) as well as describing what the collection is about.
  • Use authoritative sources for party descriptions, e.g. an institutional profile web page for a researcher or an official organisational web page for an institution.
  • Hyperlinks may be used in the description field. These will display as links in Research Data Australia. Alternatively, provide links in RelatedInfo.

Text formatting

XHTML formatting can be provided for text in the Description element to support better display in Research Data Australia.