USGS will soon transition to the international metadata standards known collectively as ISO 19115. The open-ended nature of ISO benefits with much greater flexibility and vocabulary to describe research products. However, that flexibility means few constraints that can guide authors and ensure standardized, robust documentation across the bureau. This project proposed that the USGS data community develop content specifications to define standard USGS ISO metadata content requirements. These specifications would be modular in order to meet documentation needs of the diverse range of research data that USGS produces. Using the specifications, metadata authors will be guided to include appropriate metadata fields for the type of data being described, producing complete, high- quality metadata while also enjoying the flexibility and modern features of the ISO standard.
As a step toward this goal, this project convened a workshop of data specialists from across the bureau, and proposed initial content specification modules to aid in authoring metadata records in the international standard. These re-usable modules are: Basic (required by all USGS metadata), Geospatial, Biological, Lineage.
This project presents a proof of concept. The first product specification modules are being offered to the USGS Community for Data Integration (CDI) for review and improvement. What has been learned through the workshop procedure has been published for future use to develop additional specifications that will be needed to fit the diverse types of research data that USGS produces.
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“Content specifications architecture and example.”