Metadata Systems and Tools


Metadata is a central piece of data stewardship and preservation. Many systems and tools are available to support an organization's metadata needs. Recent progress on NASA's Common Metadata Repository (CMR) and NOAA's Advanced Tracking and Resource tool for Archive Collections (ATRAC) are examples of systems and tools respectively. This sessions is requesting presentations on these and other metadata systems and tools.

Session Agenda (15 minute presentations, 25 minute discussion)

  1. Introduction - Anna Milan
  2. Metadata Principles - Matthew Mayernik
  3. NCEI's ATRAC - Nancy Ritchey
  4. GCMD Updates - Tyler Stevens
  5. Metadata Management Tool for CMR - Dana Shum
  6. Discussion - All

Metadata Systems and Tools


Metadata Principles

Matthew Mayernik (NCAR Library & University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)

  • Principles: an established part of library and information science education & practice

    • 1961: Paris Principles - basis for cataloguing code

    • Directives for how info systems and languages should be designed → consistency

  • Examples from information science community for how principles may look

    • Svenonius (2000)

    • Weibel (1995)

      • Describe intrinsic properties; describe the thing as it describes itself

      • Have objectives/purpose in mind and fit description to stated purpose

      • Disagreement over whether it’s important to have specifications for certain fields

    • Ecology/earth science community is very aware of principles but hasn’t taken the time to implement them

  • So...

    • What are the principles of metadata criterion for scientific data?

    • Would the scientific data communities benefit from developing an agreed-upon set of metadata principles?

    • What would be the appropriate venue(s) for such discussions? ESIP? Research Data Alliance

  • Questions/Discussion:

    • LTER for EML, DataOne → examples from some communities (discussion of principles and best practices)

    • RDA metadata working group → outcome from working group is metadata principles

    • National Centers for Environmental Info → key principles section



Nancy Ritchey, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

  • ATRAC = Advanced Tracking and Resource tool for Archive Collections

  • ATRAC manages and tracks data archiving projects within the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)

    • project info & status, a number of forms are there including a metadata form

    • allows you to collaborate

    • project status & attributes stored for long term (search/view); documents like metadata, archive request are downloaded and stored elsewhere (download)

    • can edit permissions, search projects that have been archived

    • public won’t necessarily see your metadata

  • ATRAC metadata creation tool

    • produces ISO 19115-2 metadata using web form input; understanding of metadata standards is NOT required

    • can have multiple people work on the form before moving on to other actions

    • can preview your metadata landing page

    • can import information from other forms in the system, like archive request form

  • Planned improvements for 2016

    • add NOAA data management plan; prototype cost model for archive that will incorporate into the interface

    • updating for ISO metadata updates and improving rubric scores

  • Questions/Discussion

    • how different from S2N? S2N allows you to submit data as well as create metadata record but fewer applicable use cases; same for how this relates to CEdit, DocuComp, etc.

    • There is a “triage page” to tell you where to go based on what kind of data you have


GCMD Updates: New Keyword Search Interface ‘Alpha Version’

Tyler Stevens, NASA Global Change Master Directory (GCMD)

  • Help facilitate metadata creation, curation, quality of metadata

  • Objectives:

    • Keyword interface will use the Common Metadata Repository (CMR) as the back-end; so this (GCMD) is a front-end client to the CMR (anything currently in GCMD database is being moved to CMR)

      • EarthData is another NASA view to the CMR (both search through GCMD keywords)

    • Added additional functionality for precision and recall to existing interface

      • Free-Text Search: searches all indexed fields for a term

      • Can also browse through entire keyword hierarchy

      • Can also sort by temporal coverage, spatial coverage, etc.

  • Questions/Discussion

    • would be really great to have a keyword validator for people who are submitting metadata → come to the poster session tonight!

    • there is a publicly accessible keywords list for GCMD - Keyword Management Service API

    • continues to support all the same keyword sets

    • general agreement that the keywords are the best thing out of GCMD--continued maintenance and available of those programmatically is important


Metadata Management Tool for CMR (Common Metadata Repository)

Dana Shum, EOSDIS

  • Metadata Management Tool (MMT) is a way to create and edit metadata that sits on top of CMR

    • Improve metadata quality: MMT ensures that data entered is valid & provides data quality analysis and guidance in partnership with HDF Group (coming in 2016)

    • ISO compliance: MMT saves metadata to the CMR in a format that can be converted to ISO on the fly

    • Make use of new features CMR keeps adding to allow users to more easily find data

    • Reduce the number of UIs we use: trying to consolidate different UIs into fewer locations

  • Permissions, ability to edit drafts before submitting, pulls keywords from KMS when filling out metadata form, publish directly to CMR when ready

  • Can search for past records, edit them, copy things from them, also view past revisions…

  • Quality meter is coming soon!

  • MMT is available for beta use at

  • beta testing will be started in February, can be a beta test user by emailing [email protected]

  • Questions/Discussion

    • UUID for keywords will be removed from forms bc people don’t know them


Milan, A.; Metadata Systems and Tools; Winter Meeting 2016. ESIP Commons , October 2015


I would be happy to present on progress on a USGS data release 'workbench', connected metadata tools and data/metadata release capabilities. Applications presented on would include: Workbench, Online Metadata Editor, ScienceBase, and Science Data Catalog. Let me know what you think! Thanks, Viv
TylerStevens's picture

I can give an update on GCMD and our new keyword search interface that uses CMR as the backend