Center for International Earth Science Information Network
Data and information resources are generated by diverse user
communities and the metadata required to describe these resources are equally diverse. Metadata must adequately describe data in terms useful to user communities and appropriate to the data or information resource. Over time, an array of diverse metadata formats have evolved which enable various organiztions, agencies, and user communities to tailor metadata to specific needs. Standardizing these metadata provide uniformity to the information presented, which facilitates information sharing among various organizations and
Several standardized metadata formats exist:
- Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2): A standard by which
library materials (such as
books, audio recordings, and films) are organized and described. Descriptions
of these items typically have headings
and/or uniform titles to make the items more accessible in catalog searches.
The rules for description are based on
the general framework for description of library materials, the General
International Standard Biblio-graphic
Description agreed upon between the International Federation of Library
Associations and Institutions and the Joint
Steering Committee for revision of AACR.
Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM): Addresses
the need to determine common terminology for geospatial metadata and to define
the minimum set of metadata elements needed to describe a spatial
data resource. It was approved at the June 8, 1994 meeting of the
Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), and by Executive Order
12906, "Coordinating Geographic Data Acquisition and Access: The National
Spatial Data Infrastructure," which instructs U.S. federal agencies to use the
standard to document new geospatial data beginning in 1995.
The FGDC developed this standard to help identify sources of spatial
data and provide access to data through the emerging National Information
Interchange Format (DIF): The data structure for directory metadata
developed by NASA and maintained by the Interagency Working Group on
Data Management for Global Change (IWGDMGC). The format, originally designed
to describe satellite and other remotely-sensed data, suggests metadata
elements for describing data, prescribes content values for selected elements,
and provides a structure for transferring metadata among information systems.
These metadata are descriptions which enable a user to make an initial
determination of whether or not the data set may contain information of
- Government Information
Locator Service (GILS): As part of
the National Information Infrastructure (NII), GILS provides a
framework for individuals and organizations to improve access to their
information resources. The U.S. federal government implementation of GILS
includes a publicly-accessible catalog of federal information resources,
each described using a specific metadata format. GILS supplements other
government and commercial information dissemination mechanisms, and uses
international standards for information search and retrieval so that
information can be retrieved in a variety of ways.
- Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC):
A metadata standard used by the library
community to facilitate exchange of catalog records which employ the
Anglo-American Cataloging Rules to describe a myriad of resources.
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