Creating a metadata template

When you need to create metadata for many ArcGIS items, it helps to streamline the task by creating a metadata template. Like a map document template or Word document template, a metadata template contains information that will be used again and again. With ArcGIS automatically updating properties of an item and metadata templates in place, it takes much less effort to complete an item's metadata. You can focus on documenting important information like the sources and quality of your data.

An organization-wide template can include general contact and distribution information and legal restrictions. This can be the basis for other templates associated with specific projects. A project template might add keywords describing the geographic location, the purpose for which the items were created, how the resources will be maintained, and so on. In general, templates should not include properties that are automatically updated by ArcGIS.

For a series of images or a data product with tiles of features covering a large area, in general, a stand-alone metadata XML file describing the entire series or data product should be sufficient, especially when publishing the information to a metadata catalog. If you must provide metadata at the level of the individual image or tile, templates can be used to transfer common information to the individual items. In scenarios like this, it is appropriate to include some properties in the template such as descriptions of fields and their values. Information unique to an item can be added with automatic updates and with the metadata editing pages available in the Description tab; a tile's extent will be added automatically, and you can append a key or phrase to the default title that identifies the individual tile with the Item Description page.

If you've already fully documented an ArcGIS item, you can use that information as the basis for a metadata template. Run the XSLT Transformation tool with the generate metadata template.xslt file provided in the <ArcGIS Install Location>\Metadata\Stylesheets\gpTools folder. It will create a stand-alone metadata XML file that doesn't include unique identifiers or any automatically added content. Edit the XML file and remove or change any information that only applies to one item. Printing the metadata may help you identify information you don't want to include.

Once a template has been created, use it by importing it to an ArcGIS item using the FROM_ARCGIS import type.

  1. In the Catalog window, right-click the folder where you want to store the metadata template.
  2. Click New > XML Document.

    A new XML file Stand-alone Metadata XML File with the default name New_XML_Document.xml is created in the folder. The item's name can instantly be modified to something more appropriate.

  3. Type an appropriate name for the metadata template.
  4. Press ENTER.
  5. View the XML file as metadata.

    The file doesn't contain any information to display in the Description tab.

  6. Click the Edit button Edit Metadata in the Description tab.
  7. Type in appropriate content for this metadata template.
  8. Click the Save button Save Metadata Edits in the Description tab.

    The contents of the metadata template will be displayed.

Import this template to an ArcGIS item by clicking the item in the Catalog window, clicking the Import button Import Metadata in the Description tab and using the FROM_ARCGIS import type.

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