Metadata

Data loves metadata. Any time you run Datasette you can optionally include a JSON file with metadata about your databases and tables. Datasette will then display that information in the web UI.

Run Datasette like this:

datasette database1.db database2.db --metadata metadata.json

Your metadata.json file can look something like this:

{
    "title": "Custom title for your index page",
    "description": "Some description text can go here",
    "license": "ODbL",
    "license_url": "https://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/",
    "source": "Original Data Source",
    "source_url": "http://example.com/"
}

The above metadata will be displayed on the index page of your Datasette-powered site. The source and license information will also be included in the footer of every page served by Datasette.

Any special HTML characters in description will be escaped. If you want to include HTML in your description, you can use a description_html property instead.

Per-database and per-table metadata

Metadata at the top level of the JSON will be shown on the index page and in the footer on every page of the site. The license and source is expected to apply to all of your data.

You can also provide metadata at the per-database or per-table level, like this:

{
    "databases": {
        "database1": {
            "source": "Alternative source",
            "source_url": "http://example.com/",
            "tables": {
                "example_table": {
                    "description_html": "Custom <em>table</em> description",
                    "license": "CC BY 3.0 US",
                    "license_url": "https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/"
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

Each of the top-level metadata fields can be used at the database and table level.

Generating a metadata skeleton

Tracking down the names of all of your databases and tables and formatting them as JSON can be a little tedious, so Datasette provides a tool to help you generate a “skeleton” JSON file:

datasette skeleton database1.db database2.db

This will create a metadata.json file looking something like this:

{
    "title": null,
    "description": null,
    "description_html": null,
    "license": null,
    "license_url": null,
    "source": null,
    "source_url": null,
    "databases": {
        "database1": {
            "title": null,
            "description": null,
            "description_html": null,
            "license": null,
            "license_url": null,
            "source": null,
            "source_url": null,
            "queries": {},
            "tables": {
                "example_table": {
                    "title": null,
                    "description": null,
                    "description_html": null,
                    "license": null,
                    "license_url": null,
                    "source": null,
                    "source_url": null
                }
            }
        },
        "database2": ...
    }
}

You can replace any of the null values with a JSON string to populate that piece of metadata.