"The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from." -author unknown
Dublin Core - Defines fifteen basic metadata elements for resource discovery in a cross-disciplinary information environment, designed for interoperability. Learn more about the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative.
Research Data Alliance (RDA) Metadata Standards Directory - Find standards by subject area; view tools and use cases.
Disciplinary Metadata - from the Digital Curation Centre in the UK
Arts - Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA)
Ecological data - Ecological Metadata Language
Biological data - Darwin Core
Social science data - Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)
Registry of Research Data Repositories - repositories may have their own requirements for data submission.
For example: USDA Ag Data Commons
Good list of metadata editors and tools from DataONE - includes editors for Geospatial and Ecological data as well as editors for more generic data.
Additional Metadata editors:
Geospatial Data -
Ecological data - Morpho - Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity
Scientific data - Directory Interchange Format (DIF)
Social Science and Archiving -
Metadata cleanup -