Metadata Standards

Ecological resources in digital libraries, repositories, and registries are primarily accessed by searching their metadata records. It would greatly facilitate interoperability, or the ability for databases to exchange information, if metadata records followed the same standards. The ecological community has made considerable progress in the last decade on standards for metadata. In the United States, the KNB repository and its tools use a community-derived standard called Ecological Metadata Language (EML). Also in the United States, NBII uses a less-granular standard called the Biological Data Profile (BDP), developed by the Federal Geographic Data Committee. EML can be translated to BDP but it is not yet possible to translate BDP to EML. Ecologists should also be aware oftaxonomic standards and protocols developed or endorsed by the International Taxonomic Databases Working Group and used by initiatives such as GBIF. These include Darwin Core and the DiGIR protocol, and the Taxonomic Concept Schema, among others. Tools such as Morpho have been developed to annotate data sets with standards-compliant metadata.

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