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Data Catalogue Best Practices

If you have a CanWIN account and are creating your own data pages, here are some best practices that CanWIN recommends:

Naming pages

When creating a page in the Data Catalogue, there are a few best practices we recommend when choosing a title:

Best practices
1 If the title is, or if it contains a known abbreviation, write the abbreviation out fully. For example, the Hudson Bay System project is abbreviated BaySys, however, the title should not be BaySys, but rather The Hudson Bay System project. Include the abbreviation in the Description section in parentheses after writing out the full term once. Afterwards, you may use just the abbreviation.
2 Do not start the title with a number. Years can be kept in the title, or in the first sentence of the description.

Writing a description

A description could range from a short summary of your dataset to a complete abstract of a publication. We recommend including:

  1. When the data was collected (it is recommended to add dates within the first sentence).

  2. Where the data was collected from.

  3. How the data was measured, i.e. instrument and (or) method.

  4. Why the data was collected.


In order for your dataset to be indexed, or show up on Google Dataset Search, your description needs to be at least 50 characters long

Editing the page URL

Before requesting a DOI, ensure you have reviewed the following rules for creating or editing the URL associated with pages you create.

Suggestion Best practice
1 Include any abbreviations designated by the governing body, research facility, or educational institute for the page being created, instead of using the full term.
2 Words can be shortened by removing letters, while still being representative of the information being added (e.g. Lake Winnipeg to lwpg, vegetation to veg)
3 Reduce the URL to only 4 words or fewer.

Requesting a DOI

Once you have created your page and uploaded your content with appropriate URLs, please email a Data Curator with links to all the pages you have created, and make note of the ones that require a DOI. A data curator will submit a DOI request to U of M Libraries. When received, the DOI will be added to your page, and you will be notified.


Only Project, Dataset, and Publication pages can be assigned a DOI; however, please provide a complete list of pages created whether a DOI is needed or not.

File formats and sizes

When uploading data to the Data Catalogue, it is best practice (where possible) to use file formats that allow for full utilization of the tools on our platform and that are also supported by the API. The recommended format for structured data is CSV. Other acceptable file formats are listed under File Formats on the Data best practices page.

The current maximum size for individual files is 600 MB. If your files are greater than this limit, please contact a Data Curator.