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Best practices for editing metadata

You can create metadata to describe most items in ArcGIS Pro.

When you view an item's metadata in the Catalog view and edit it in the Metadata view, an ArcGIS metadata document is created for the item. ArcGIS Pro is designed to create and use ArcGIS metadata content only. The metadata editor pages that are available in the current release of ArcGIS Pro are essentially the same as those in the metadata editor provided with ArcMap.

However, the geoprocessing tools that support managing metadata in ArcMap are not yet available in ArcGIS Pro. Importing, exporting, and validating metadata must be managed using other applications in the ArcGIS platform. For example, after authoring valid metadata for a specific standard or profile, export this content to a standard XML format that can be published to a metadata catalog using ArcCatalog or ArcMap.

When you author metadata content for an ArcGIS item, record whatever information is important for your organization to know about that item. This might include how accurate and recent the item is, restrictions on using and sharing the item, important processes in its life cycle such as generalizing features, and so on. It is important to develop an organizational plan for metadata that accounts for many factors.

  • Will you follow a metadata standard or profile? If so, do you require metadata to be valid for that standard or profile?
  • What legal matter must be included in the metadata?
  • Will you publish items to ArcGIS Online or your organization's portal? Information required on publication may be considered optional for a metadata standard.
  • Will you publish metadata to a separate metadata catalog or website? If so, does that catalog or site have requirements? Is specific content required to support searches on that catalog or site?
  • What information is already available on a website that can be referenced, such as contact and download, or ordering instructions? Reference the online content instead of adding a static copy of it to the metadata.
  • What content can be standardized in a metadata template?

Assemble a metadata checklist for your organization based on common sense. While complete and valid content is an ideal goal, it may be acceptable to create incomplete or invalid metadata. The most effort should be spent documenting the most valuable items; however, leaving many items undocumented can be a risk. Prioritize resources to provide appropriate levels of content for the most items. Incorporate metadata into your project plan to ensure it is completed.

It is important to periodically review and revise your metadata guidelines, and adapt to improve results. Metadata standards continue to be revised nationally and internationally, and the standards supported by a metadata catalog may change. Reassess your organization's metadata checklist periodically.

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