Exporting metadata

Metadata created in ArcGIS is stored in the ArcGIS metadata format. The information it contains is created according to the guidelines of the metadata standard associated with the current ArcGIS metadata style.

ArcGIS metadata is not designed to be used outside ArcGIS. If you need to provide metadata outside ArcGIS, export the item's metadata to a standard metadata XML format and share the exported XML file. A variety of geoprocessing tools are available that export ArcGIS metadata in different ways.

XSLT Transformation

XSLT Transformation can transform any XML file with an XSLT 1.0 stylesheet. This tool is not specific to processing metadata—it can be used with any XML file.

In an exporting context, this tool is commonly used to export ArcGIS metadata to HTML files that can be posted on an external web site to describe your GIS resources or printed for reference. XSLT stylesheets can also generate text files, though exporting metadata in this fashion is less common.

XSLTs can also filter or modify ArcGIS metadata and export the result as an XML file that can be used outside ArcGIS or by other metadata geoprocessing tools. For example, before publishing to a metadata catalog, you can filter out content that you don't want to share outside your organization. Publish the filtered metadata instead of the item's original information.

Export Metadata and Export Metadata Multiple

The Export Metadata and Export Metadata Multiple tools export ArcGIS metadata to stand-alone metadata XML files. A common use for these tools is to publish the exported files to a metadata catalog. These tools process and update the ArcGIS item's metadata before exporting it. The exported files will be structured following a metadata standard's XML Schema or DTD.

Use Export Metadata to export one ArcGIS item's metadata and Export Metadata Multiple to export several ArcGIS items' metadata at once.

There are different ways in which the dialog box for these tools can be opened. The default values used in the tool may be different depending on how the tool is opened:

ESRI Metadata Translator

The ESRI Metadata Translator exports ArcGIS metadata to an XML file that is formatted to follow a metadata standard's XML schema. No additional processing is performed. In general, use the Export Metadata tools in place of using the ESRI Metadata Translator directly for best results.

USGS MP Metadata Translator

The USGS MP Metadata Translator translates metadata using the metadata parser utility known as mp. The mp utility is created and maintained by the USGS—it is not an ESRI utility; a version of this utility is provided with ArcGIS Desktop.

This tool only accepts as input metadata containing XML elements following the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) XML format. If this content is present in an item's metadata, it appears under the FGDC Metadata (read-only) heading in the Description tab when you are using a metadata style that give you full access to the item's metadata.

For example, if an ArcGIS item has metadata that was created in ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 or earlier using the FGDC metadata editor, and the item's metadata has been upgraded to ArcGIS metadata, the ArcGIS metadata will continue to include the original FGDC metadata XML elements. In this example, this tool would only export the item's original FGDC metadata. This content may also have been provided using the using FGDC metadata editor add-in with the current release of ArcGIS Desktop.

Similarly, this tool can be used to translate stand-alone metadata XML files that were created outside ArcGIS following the FGDC CSDGM metadata format.

The tool's Conversion Type parameter determines the format in which the metadata is exported. The information can be exported in two different HTML formats, two different text formats, SGML format, and XML format. The XML files exported by this tool will only contain FGDC CSDGM XML elements; that is, any FGDC XML elements present in the item's metadata will be copied to a separate XML file. You can't convert an FGDC text file to an FGDC XML file using this tool.