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Metadata Considerations - Sky Bristol, 9/8/2010

An understanding of metadata standards and profiles is critical to a successful distributed cataloging strategy that will result in useful client applications of the technology. CSW servers can return any number of metadata standards in a search or harvest operation, and applications written to use the CSW service methods need to "know" what they are getting in a few key areas. Some policies may need to be put in place across instances of the technology stack so that there are general rules of the road that everyone understands.

For instance, we may want to specify that every metadata record returned by CSW is identified with a universally unique identifier (UUID) so that search and harvest operations can tease out duplicates. In this same vein, we may want metadata from CSW servers to support some search criteria or server configuration that will serve only the unique records that call that particular instance "home" as opposed to other records that may be harvested onto that server. If vocabularies of terms are important to a particular collection of metadata and applications that use those metadata, we may want to specify that controlled vocabulary sources be identified to a particular registry in a particular way so that the authorities can be understood by any application.

All of these considerations may provide a useful focus for the Metadata Team.

1 Comment

  1. I agree that the understanding of metadata, metadata standards, profiles and schemas is critical to a successful distributed cataloging strategy, but this understanding also needs to be applied to the existing metadata records being stored in a catalog. 

    Existing client applications of the technology (search engines) within catalog services (portals) for the web (CSW) identify records by classifications, themes, and content type. This is the mechanism that should be utilized to search and identify records of interest to do further processing.

    Though every metadata record can be identified by a dynamically generated universally unique identifier (UUID), this record is nearly indecipherable and only as reliable as created from the original CSW or where that data originated or is being harvested from. When the host CSW fails, the UUID will have to be regenerated, which breaks the hierarchy of resources within those metadata files. This break affects the entire harvesting network chain, so a reharvesting up the chain, will need to occur from the host to your CSW. Working with UUID’s values is very cumbersome, values are inconsistent without alpha numeric patterns, a  more simplified editing choice would be the resource classification indicated in the metadata.

    The numerous resource classifications (you can make up your own) exist among the vocabularies (ontology) of terms which exist among catalogs. My concern is why some metadata has been released, which does not have a classification written in the metadata already.

    Utilization standard classification resources had been designated and identified by the FGDC registry years ago, helping authorities easily classify their data/metadata by their optimum category/resource/mission. Listed below:




    Downloadable Data

    Geographic Activities

    Geographic Services

    Live Map Services

    Map Files

    Offline Data

     Static Map Images

     ISO Topic Category

     Administrative and Political Boundaries

     Agriculture and Farming

     Atmosphere and Climatic

    Biology and Ecology

    Business and Economic


    Cultural, Society and Demography

    Elevation and Derived Products

    Environment and Conservation

    Facilities and Structures

    Geological and Geophysical

    Human Health and Disease

    Imagery and Base Maps

    Inland Water Resources

    Locations and Geodetic Networks


    Oceans and Estuaries

    Transportation Networks

    Utilities and Communication 

    The solution to the fix, is to establish metadata "Stewarts", "metadata masters", "nodemasters"-among the Mission Areas, so those individual area records/metadata can be corrected before attempting to create a catalog. … Once a catalog exists among each area, migrating to a catalog of catalogs would be the next step.  I see a link indicating a "metadata team" ... where does this team exist ??