NLNZ Metadata Extraction Tool

The Metadata Extraction Tool automatically extracts a limited set of metadata from the headers of digital files; it has the capability to process both individual files and larger batches. The Tool outputs this information as XML, with the goal of facilitating transfer into a preservation metadata repository.


The National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ)

Licensing and cost

Apache Public License version 2.0 – free.

Development activity

Version 3.6GA was released in June 2014.

The initial version of the tool was released in 2003; redevelopment for version 3 began in 2007. Contact information on the tool's site implies ongoing support; no firm information is available about ongoing development.

Platform and interoperability

The software uses Java (1.4 or later if building from source, 1.6 if using precompiled binaries) and XML, and has been tested in Windows and Linux/Unix environments.

Functional notes

The Metadata Extraction Tool uses a library of ‘adapters’ to extract metadata for specific file types. Adapters have been created for the following formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG and TIFF; MS Word, Word Perfect, Open Office, MS Works, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, and PDF; WAV, MP3, BWF, and FLAC; HTML and XML; and ARC. If the file type is unknown the Tool applies a generic adapter, which extracts a limited amount baseline metadata.

The application opens all files as read-only, ensuring the integrity of original files.

Documentation and user support

The documentation page on tool’s site includes user and installation guides, as well as a developer guide.

Users can report bugs through the Sourceforge site, which also lists a contact email.


The tool has both a GUI and command line interface.

Expertise required

Installation and configuration require solid knowledge of application design and technologies. Users should have comprehensive knowledge of metadata standards and formats, particularly regarding preservation metadata.

Standards compliance

The Metadata Extraction Tool currently outputs its XML files using the NLNZ preservation metadata schema; however, the software can be configured to support other schemas.

Influence and take-up

Sourceforge statistics show over 98,000 downloads since 2007. Version 3.6GA was downloaded over 7500 times between June and November 2014.

Last reviewed: 
27 November, 2014