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Help - Information standards

To ensure that searching on Health Well returns only relevant information resources (and no others), it uses agreed information standards.

Metadata standards

Metadata standards specify which features (or “elements”) of an information resource – such as a book’s subject and creator – should be recorded and how they should be recorded. Metadata allow Health Well to clearly and consistently describe its information resources, to manage those resources and to share them more easily.

Health Well and contributors to its central metadata cache use the same metadata standards. Those metadata standards were developed and are maintained by Ireland and Northern Ireland’s Population Health Observatory (INIsPHO) at Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH). These standards incorporate:

  • Public Health Language (PHL) to encode the subject of a resource
  • Public Health Resource Type Encoding Scheme (PHRTES) to encode the type of a resource

Click here to download a copy of the latest version of Health Well’s metadata standards.

Core metadata elements for every information resource on Health Well are stored in its central metadata cache. The main metadata elements are:

  • Title
  • Creator
  • Subject matter
  • Description of content
  • Type of publication
  • Publication rights

Data standards

Numerical data sources contain variables, such as the age of a respondent to a survey or the date on which a hospital admission occurred.

Data standards are the rules we use to describe these variables. This allows you to better analyse the variables contained in numerical data sources. Data standards define what features (or “elements”) of a variable – such as its name – will be recorded and how they will be recorded. For example, an age variable should be written AGE rather than AGE_GROUP, and its values should be recorded in five-year age bands rather than ten-year age bands.

Library standards

The Health Sciences Libraries Group (HSLG) is committed to advancing health for all by empowering its members to excellence in the field of information management. Health Well works to meet the library standards set by the HSLG and the Library Association of Ireland. For more information, visit the HSLG website at

Updated: January 2011

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