USDA Forest Service

Forest Service Metadata Users Guide

FS Metadata
User Guide
Policy & Guidelines
Purpose and Scope
How to use this Guide
Step 1
Gathering Metadata
Step 2
Step 3
Creating FGDC Metadata
Step 4
Step 6
Maintaining Metadata
Feature Level Metadata
Contact Information
Glossary & Terms
Other Resources

USDA Forest Service -
Geospatial Advisory Committee
Last Modified:  3/31/05

Step 6
Importance of Managing Existing Metadata Records

It is very important to properly manage you metadata records. You will need to update them as your geospatial data layer is updated, if you add or delete an item in your info file, if your contact information changes, or if additional processing is done on the layer. 


Storing and Organizing

Just as there are several ways to create metadata, there are several alternatives for storing and organizing your metadata.  Some tools create the metadata within the ESRI coverage structure. This keeps the metadata with the data which is important for distributing the data (metadata is automatically saved within the .e00 file when you export the coverage).

Some GIS specialists prefer to store all the metadata in a directory on the computer where they can organize, update, and keep track of the metadata. The metadata record includes the linkage between the location of GIS coverages and the metadata record. Whatever method you chose, it is important to recognize that someone in your organization will need to be responsible for organizing and maintaining these records.


Keeping the data and metadata in sync

When the metadata record is updated, it will need to be reprocessed through the metadata parser and sent to the appropriate FGDC approved clearinghouse.

  • You should send the revised record to the same clearinghouse that you sent the original, and you should indicate that the record is an update/replacement.
  • If you have altered the original dataset such that you now have two distinct coverages, you should rename that coverage, reflect the additional information in the metadata, and submit the record as a new coverage.

Be sure to use naming conventions that meet the national spatial data dictionary standards. You might want to give the old coverage a version number that indicates the time frame it was in use. This way you can keep the corporate name for the current version of the data.  Planning ahead for your versioned datasets will save you time down the road. At the current time there are no national standards for versioned datasets, so you might want to talk to experienced GIS professionals for help on versioning.

If this revised coverage is a replacement and you don’t need to track the changes, you would replace the coverage but remember you may still need to revise and resend the metadata records (if you have changed the extent of the data, added items, deleted items, changed contact information, or other fields).  You don't need to update the metadata if you are editing features within the documented extent of the coverage and are not making other changes.  


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