FGDC Metadata

metadata profile graphic

Metadata is a description of the content, quality, lineage, contact, condition, and other characteristics of data. The description of the data is organized in a standardized format using a common set of terms. Metadata is literally "data about data". Metadata records are similar in concept to library catalog records: details about a book such as title, author, and publisher are recorded in a standard way to ease the search for information.

Biological metadata records work in the same way: information is recorded in a standardized format about a data set (content, quality, condition, and more) for use and analysis. Metadata ultimately makes information about data sets more easily accessible to scientists and researchers.

Metadata is a valuable tool. Metadata records preserve the usefulness of data over time by detailing methods for data collection and data set creation. Metadata greatly minimize duplication of effort in the collection of expensive digital data and foster sharing of digital data resources. Metadata supports local data asset management such as local inventory and data catalogs, and external user communities such as Clearinghouses and websites. It provides adequate guidance for end-use application of data such as detailed lineage and context. Metadata makes it possible for data users to search, retrieve, and evaluate data set information from the NBII's vast network of biological databases by providing standardized descriptions of geospatial and biological data.

The NBII offers an extensive array of metadata resources. Explore the links below and find resources for your organization to use.

Don't "Duck" Metadata! Why Making Metadata Records Matters

Image: Digital Juice

We all recognize that data sharing, collaboration, and resource leveraging are all part of today's science environment. No data set is complete without a metadata record, because these standardized records describe such important features as why the data set was created, who created it, how accurate the data is, what the methodologies were used to develop it, and so much more. These records transcend people and time, preserve institutional memory, help avoid data duplication, publicize research, and reduce workload.

All this must be why metadata was made a requirement for federal agencies back in 1994...So, dispel any previous thoughts you may have had, because NBII is here to tell you that learning to create metadata records is fun! Join your enthusiastic metadata trainers for a day of learning more than you ever wanted to know about metadata, and leave armed with a toolbox of helpful metadata making tips, tricks, software, and more...and most importantly, an appreciation of why no one wants to duck metadata!

Metadata Clearinghouse

Thumnail Image of Metadata Clearinghouse Search Interface

The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Clearinghouse is an initiative to help you locate, evaluate, and access biological data and information from a distributed network of cooperating data and information sources.

The NBII Clearinghouse includes metadata descriptions of biological databases and information products developed and maintained by USGS scientists, as well as data and information developed and maintained by other NBII participants, including federal, state, and local government agencies; private sector organizations; and other partners around the nation and the world.

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