List of Metadata Standards

  • The Access to Biological Collections Data (ABCD) Schema is an evolving comprehensive standard for the access to and exchange of data about specimens and observations (a.k.a. primary biodiversity data). The ABCD Schema attempts to be comprehensive and highly structured, supporting data from a wide variety of databases. It is compatible with several existing data standards. Parallel structures exist so that either (or both) atomised data and free-text can be accommodated.

    Sponsored by Biodiversity Information Standards TDWG - the Taxonomic Databases Working Group, the current specification was last modified in 2007.

  • A semantic standard developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, AgMES enables description, resource discovery, interoperability and data exchange of different types of information resources in all areas relevant to food production, nutrition and rural development.

    Sponsored by the UN AIMS - Agricultural Information Managment Standards, the current standard was issued in November 2010.

  • The AVM scheme supports the cross-searching of collections of print-ready and screen-ready astronomical imagery rendered from telescopic observations (also known as ‘pretty pictures’). The scheme is compatible with the Adobe XMP specification, so the metadata can be embedded within common image formats such as JPEG, TIFF and PNG.

    Such images can combine data acquired at different wavebands and from different observatories. While the primary intent is to cover data-derived astronomical images, there are broader uses as well. Specifically, the most general subset of this schema is also appropriate for describing artwork and illustrations of astronomical subject matter.

    AVM is a proposed recommendation of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance and was last updated in 2011.

  • CERIF (Common European Research Information Format) is the standard that the EU recommends to its member states for recording information about research activity. Since version 1.6 it has included specific support for recording metadata for datasets.

    It is developed and maintained by EuroCRIS. The current version is 1.5, but the version 1.6 model has been available for testing and review since 24 July 2013.

  • The CF standard was originally framed as a standard for data written in netCDF format, with model-generated climate forecast data particularly in mind. However, it is equally applicable to observational datasets, and can be used to describe other formats. It is a standard for “use metadata” that aims both to distinguish quantities (such as physical description, units, and prior processing) and to locate the data in space–time.

    Sponsored by the NetCDF Climate and Forecast Metadata Convention, the current version dates from December 2011.

  • A well-established standard file structure for the archiving and distribution of crystallographic information, CIF is in regular use for reporting crystal structure determinations to Acta Crystallographica and other journals.

    Sponsored by the International Union of Crystallography, the current standard dates from 1997. As of July 2011, a new version of the CIF standard is under consideration.

  • The Common Information Model (CIM) describes climate data, the models and software from which they derive, the geographic grids used to calculate and project them, and the experimental processes (typically simulations) that produced them.

    The CIM was originally developed by the EU-funded Metafor Project. It is now maintained and developed by Earth Science Documentation (ES-DOC). The latest release dates from 2012.

  • A study-data oriented model, primarily in support of the ICAT data managment infrastructure software. The CSMD is designed to support data collected within a large-scale facility’s scientific workflow; however the model is also designed to be generic across scientific disciplines.

    Sponsored by the Science and Technologies Facilities Council, the latest full specification available is v 4.0, from 2013.

  • A body of standards, including a glossary of terms (in other contexts these might be called properties, elements, fields, columns, attributes, or concepts) intended to facilitate the sharing of information about biological diversity by providing reference definitions, examples, and commentaries.

    Sponsored by Biodiversity Information Standards (TWDG), the current standard was last modified in October 2009.

  • The Data Package specification is a generic wrapper format for exchanging data. Although it supports arbitrary metadata, the format defines required, recommended, and optional fields for both the package as a whole and the resources contained within it.

    A separate but linked specification provides a way to describe the columns of a data table; descriptions of this form can be included directly in the Data Package metadata.

    Version 1.0.0-beta.17 of the specification was released in March 2016.