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Introduction to Metadata and MetaRaider: Discipline Metadata Standards

This is a guide that will walk users through what metadata is, how to use it, and how to utilize TTU's new tool, MetaRaider, in helping them create descriptive metadata for their data.

Discipline Specific Metadata Standards

This section is dedicated to the numerous discipline specific metadata standards. While this is not an exhaustive list of standards, it is a starting point for your research description needs. Should you require additional help for developing metadata description, please email Matthew McEniry or Shelley Barba for more information.


Agricultural Metadata Element Set (AgMES): AgMES is designed to include agriculture specific extensions for terms and refinements from established metadata standards such as Dublin Core and AGLS to facilitate resource discovery, interoperability, and data exchange in the agriculture domain. Its site is at

Art & Architecture

Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images is a data content standard for describing, documenting, and cataloging cultural works and their visual surrogates. The primary focus of CCO is art and architecture, including but not limited to paintings, sculpture, prints, manuscripts, photographs, built works, installations, and other visual media. The CCO Commons is at


Astronomy Visualization Metadata Standard (AVMS): a standard for tagging digital astronomical images stored in general formats such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF (not scientific FITS datasets). Details can be found at

Biological and Ecological

Access to Biological Collection Data (ABCD): A standard for the access to and exchange of data about specimens and observations (a.k.a. primary biodiversity data). It's available at

Darwin Core (DwC): A metadata specification for information about the geographic occurrence of species and the existence of specimens in collections. More details are available at

Ecological Metadata Language (EML): A metadata specification developed by the ecology discipline for the ecology discipline. EML is implemented as a series of XML document types that can be used in a modular and extensible manner to document ecological data. More details are available at

Computer and Information Technology

ISO/IEC 19506: It defines a meta-model for representing existing software assets, their associations, and operational environments, referred to as the Knowledge Discovery Meta-model (KDM). 

Metadata for the OASIS Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML): It defines an extensible metadata format for SAML system entities, organized by roles that reflect SAML profiles.


Interoperability of Data in E-Commerce Systems (INDECS): INDECS deals with interoperability of Data in E-Commerce Systems and it addresses the need to put different creation identifiers and metadata into a framework to support the management of intellectual property rights. Its metadata framework is available at


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard: The IEEE Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard specifies the syntax and semantics of Learning Object Metadata. It is available at

Technology Standards & Resources:


Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM): Content standard for digital geospatial metadata maintained by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). Often referred to as the “FGDC Metadata Standard.” However, it has been adopted by State and local governments as well. Details of this metadata standard is available at

Health Sciences

Health Level 7 (HL7) Standards: HL7 and its members provide a framework (and related standards) for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information. HL7 standards support clinical practice and the management, delivery, and evaluation of health services.

National Institute of Health (NIH) Common Data Elements (CDEs): CDE is a data element that is common to multiple data sets across different studies. NIH encourages the use of CDEs in clinical research, patient registries, and other human subject research in order to improve data quality and opportunities for comparison and combination of data from multiple studies and with electronic health records. The CDE Resource Portal is at

MEDLINE®/PubMed® Data Element (Field) Descriptions: This document describes the major elements found in the MEDLINE display format for PubMed MEDLINE records. It is available at

The Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) Metadata: The Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) XDS profile is a protocol for sharing clinical documents in health information exchanges. IHE IT Infrastructure Technical Framework volumes can be accessed at

Humanities & Social Sciences

Text Encoding Initiative (TEI): A standard for the representation of texts in digital form, chiefly in the humanities, social sciences and linguistics. Its official website is at

Data Documentation Initiative (DDI): a metadata specification for the social and behavioral sciences. It is an XML metadata standard for documenting numeric data. Detailed information is available at

Library and Information Science

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR): An abstract model to describe the bibliographical universe. Created by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). It is available at

Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC 21): A standard for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form. Its site is at

Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS): A schema for a bibliographic element set that may be used for a variety of purposes, and particularly for library applications. It is available at

Resource Description and Access (RDA): The new and unified cataloging standard. It is designed for the digital world and an expanding universe of metadata users. It can be accessed through RDA Toolkit (, a subscription service.


OLAC (Open Language Archives Community) Metadata: This document defines the format used by the Open Language Archives Community for the interchange of metadata within the framework of the Open Archives Initiative OAI. The metadata set is based on the complete set of Dublin Core metadata terms, but the format allows for the use of extensions to express community-specific qualifiers. The OLAC Metadata Usage Guidelines are available at

Physical Science

Crystallographic Information Framework (CIF): An extensible standard file format and set of protocols for the exchange of crystallographic and related structured data. It is available at


Directory Interchange Format (DIF): An early metadata initiative from the Earth sciences community, intended for the description of scientific datasets. It includes elements focusing on instruments that capture data, temporal and spatial characteristics of the data, and projects with which the dataset is associated. The DIF Writer's Guide is at