Metadata refers to the tags or key-words that you define to characterise a certain piece of information or document, which is key to facilitate being found by other potential users. After creating an OER, it is important to make it visible amongst the millions of results in an online search and that’s when metadata play an important role. When uploading an OER to a repository, there will be a field in which you are asked to insert a short description and a set of keywords/tags. Given that this information is crucial to boost your OER’s visibility, it should be pondered carefully.
Most OER repository also ask to identify the open licence that relates to the OER, which can be used to filter search results.
Teachers should know that if they do not assign good metadata to their OER, it will not be discoverable (and if your resource is not discoverable it may as well not exist, because nobody will find it). But this process doesn’t have to be overwhelming or even time consuming. Teachers should put themselves in the shoes of those who may be looking for and a specific OER and think of the words/ phrases might they use – including, e.g., information as to content, format, context, timeframe, open license, etc. Jargon is not something that they should avoid, but simple terms are most times more effective. Moreover, the concept of “too much metadata” does not apply – the more, the merrier.