List of Metadata Standards

  • The Investigation/Study/Assay (ISA) tab-delimited (TAB) format is a general purpose framework with which to collect and communicate complex metadata (i.e. sample characteristics, technologies used, type of measurements made) from 'omics-based' experiments employing a combination of technologies.

    Created by core developers from the University of Oxford, ISA-TAB v1.0 was released in November 2008.

  • An internationally-adopted schema for describing geographic information and services. It provides information about the identification, the extent, the quality, the spatial and temporal schema, spatial reference, and distribution of digital geographic data.

    Sponsored by the International Standards Organisation, the first edition of ISO 19115 was published in 2003. It has since been split into parts: ISO 19115-1:2014 contains the fundamentals of the standard; ISO 19115-2:2009 contains extensions for imagery and gridded data; and ISO/TS 19115-3:2016 provides an XML schema implementation for the fundamental concepts compatible with ISO/TS 19138:2007 (Geographic Metadata XML, or GMD).

  • A common portal to a group of nearly 40 checklists of Minimum Information for various biological disciplines. The MIBBI Foundry is developing a cross-analysis of these guidelines to create an intercompatible, extensible community of standards.

    The concept was realized initially through the joint efforts of the Proteomics Standards Initiative, the Genomic Standards Consortium and the MGED RSBI Working Groups. The latest project to register with MIBBI is the MIABie guidelines for reporting biofilm research, as of January 2012.

  • A British cultural heritage standard for recording information on buildings, archaeological sites, shipwrecks, parks and gardens, battlefields, areas of interest and artefacts.

    Sponsored by the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage, MIDAS Version 1.1 was released in October 2012.

  • NeXus is an international standard for the storage and exchange of neutron, x-ray, and muon experiment data. The structure of NeXus files is extremely flexible, allowing the storage of both simple data sets, such as a single data array and its axes, and highly complex data and their associated metadata, such as measurements on a multi-component instrument or numerical simulations. NeXus is built on top of the container format HDF5, and adds domain-specific rules for organizing data within HDF5 files in addition to a dictionary of well-defined domain-specific field names.

  • The goal of these standards is to expose the rich content in aggregations of Web resources to applications that support authoring, deposit, exchange, visualization, reuse, and preservation. The standards support the changing nature of scholarship and scholarly communication, and the need for cyberinfrastructure to support that scholarship, with the intent to develop standards that generalize across all web-based information including the increasing popular social networks of “Web 2.0”.

  • Observ-OM is founded on four basic concepts to represent any kind of observation: Targets, Features, Protocols (and their Applications), and Values. It is intended to lower the barrier for future data sharing and facilitate integrated search across panels and species. All models, formats, documentation, and software are available for free and open source (LGPLv3) at

  • This encoding is an essential dependency for the OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS) Interface Standard. More specifically, this standard defines XML schemas for observations, and for features involved in sampling when making observations. These provide document models for the exchange of information describing observation acts and their results, both within and between different scientific and technical communities.

  • OME-XML is a vendor-neutral file format for biological image data, with an emphasis on metadata supporting light microscopy. It can be used as a data file format in its own right, or as a way of encoding metadata within a TIFF or BigTIFF file (for which purpose there is the OME-TIFF specification).

    The standard is maintained by the Open Microscopy Environment Consortium, and was last updated in June 2012.

  • The Protein Data Bank archive (PDB) is a worldwide archival repository of information about the 3D structures of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies, managed by the Worldwide PDB (wwPDB). The PDB Exchange Dictionary (PDBx) is used by the wwPDB to define data content for deposition, annotation and archiving of PDB entries. PDBx incorporates the community standard metadata representation, the Macromolecular Crystallographic Information Framework (mmCIF), orginally developed under the auspices of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr). PDBx has been extended by the wwPDB  to include descriptions of other experimental methods that produce 3D macromolecular structure models such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, 3D Electron Microscopy and Tomography.