Metadata Standards Working Group Meeting Mar. 2022


Metadata about samples and data is crucial for the implementation of FAIR principles. Providing rich metadata also helps researchers to improve the quality of their work, allowing further insights into their and previously published data.

Making metadata useful, however, requires that it is structured, both human and computer readable, and standardised as far as possible to ensure consistency throughout datasets. To assist in make metadata consistent and as rich as possible, the Genomic Standards Consortium have developed standardised ‘checklists’ for metadata, both common and domain specific, which are in fact required to be used when uploading sequence data to the largest sequencing data repositories such as teh ENA and SRA.

An issue for the existing MIxS checklists, is they are designed for modern sequence data, and are missing critical metadata fields, and/or include fields that have definitions that do not fit well in an ancient context. The ENA has already indicated interest in such a checklist, as they recognise the limitations of current upload sheets for ancient DNA.

To facilitate improved metadata reporting in paleogenomics, the SPAAM community are establishing a working group to develop a MIxS extension checklist designed specifically for ancient metagenomics, as well as collaborating with a working group in ancient human population genetics to develop a more general checklist for ancient DNA, provisionally called the ‘MInAS’ checklist (Minimum INformation about Ancient Sequences’).

This second meeting discussed progress on the first draft of the metagenomic specific MInAS checklist.

Organisational Details


Anyone working in ancient metagenomics with a passion for FAIR data, and interest in improving data sharing infrastructure for the field.

Ideally (but not required), attendees should have familiarity with data upload to ENA/SRA-like repositories, existing MIxS checklists, and sufficient knowledge about useful metadata for ancient DNA and metagenomic studies.


We will be meeting on! To learn how the platform works, please see the documentation here


  • Date: March 4th 2022
  • Time: 14:00-15:00 CET

💡 All meeting material and discussions will be shared after the event. Future meeting times will also be optimised to account for timezones.


In this meeting we will;

  • discuss sub-work grouping progress
  • discuss issues that arose with some of the fields