Validating metadata

ArcGIS metadata is created following the guidelines of the metadata standard associated with the current ArcGIS metadata style. Validating metadata is the process of checking to see if it follows the guidelines of a metadata standard. A variety of geoprocessing tools are available that validate metadata in different ways.

XML Schema Validation

XML Schema Validation is a generic tool that checks if an XML file follows the structure and content rules defined in an XML Schema or an XML DTD. This tool is not specific to validating metadata—it can be used with any XML file. Any problems found when validating the file are reported as part of the tool's messages.

ArcGIS metadata is not stored in a manner that can be directly validated using a metadata standard's XML schema. Do not attempt to directly validate an ArcGIS item's metadata using this tool.

Validate Metadata and Validate Metadata Multiple

Validate Metadata and Validate Metadata Multiple export ArcGIS metadata to stand-alone metadata XML files then validate the exported XML file using an XML schema.

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

Metadata that is formatted following a metadata standard's XML schema can be directly validated against that standard's XML Schema or DTD; validate these files using the XML Schema Validation tool. Do not validate these files using the Validate Metadata or Validate Metadata Multiple tools.

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:

After validating the metadata, you can decide whether you want to keep the exported XML file.

ESRI Metadata Translator

The ESRI Metadata Translator tool's primary function is to export ArcGIS metadata to an XML file that is formatted to follow a metadata standard's XML schema.

However, as part of the exporting process, this tool's translation engine assesses an entire metadata document using its specialized validation rules and reports any problems it finds when the following translators are used: ArcGIS or ESRI-ISO to ISO 19139, ISO 19139 to ArcGIS, FGDC to ArcGIS, and FGDC to ISO 19139. These validation rules include those specified in the metadata standard documents that may not be possible to encode in an XML Schema. For example, a set of rules laid out in the standard might apply only if a metadata element has a certain value. In some situations, elements that are conditionally required are defined as optional in an XML Schema.

Any validation warnings found by this tool are reported as part of the tool's messages. The validation warnings can also be saved to a log file that you can refer to later, for example, when editing the metadata.

USGS MP Metadata Translator

USGS MP Metadata Translator uses metadata elements in an item's metadata or an XML file that follow 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 gives you full access to the item's metadata.

For example, if the 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 original FGDC metadata. This content may also have been provided using the FGDC metadata editor add-in with the current release of ArcGIS Desktop.

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

This tool exports and validates FGDC metadata using the metadata parser utility known as mp. If the tool's Conversion Type is set to NONE, only metadata validation is performed. When using this tool, any validation warnings or errors are reported in the tool's messages if a log file isn't specified in which mp's messages can be stored. Save mp's validation warnings and errors to a log file that you can refer to while updating the item's metadata.