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Copy or import metadata to an item

Authoring metadata may seem daunting at first, but you can quickly get started by copying metadata from another item. If you're using data provided by another organization, it may have come with a standard-format metadata XML file. You can import it to the item so you can use the metadata content in ArcGIS Pro without creating metadata from scratch.

Copy metadata in ArcGIS format from another item

You can copy metadata content from another item. For example, you can copy metadata from one map to another, from a feature class to a map layer that symbolizes those features, and so on. Edit the copied metadata content to remove information that doesn't apply, and add information that is specific to the current item. After copying and updating metadata a few times, you'll have a better idea of what content should be included in a metadata template.

Once you start writing metadata for an item, don't copy metadata to it because you'll lose your work. Instead, open a second catalog view to see the other item's metadata. Copy the content you need from the other item's metadata display, and paste it into the metadata editor in the appropriate field.

Copy metadata from one item to another

  1. In the catalog view, browse to and select the item to document.
  2. On the Home tab on the ribbon, in the Metadata group, click Import Import.
  3. On the Import Metadata dialog box, click the browse button Browse.
  4. On the Browse for source metadata dialog box, browse to and select the item whose metadata you want to copy.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click the Type of metadata to import drop-down arrow and click ArcGIS Metadata.
  7. Click OK.

    The ArcGIS metadata content from the source metadata item is copied to the item selected in the catalog view.

  8. Edit the item's metadata to add information specific to the item.

Copy metadata from a local item to a portal item

If you published maps and datasets to the active portal with a previous version of ArcGIS Pro and the full metadata for the local map or dataset was not published to the portal item, you can copy the local item's metadata to the portal item. Similarly, if you had a layer file that you uploaded to the portal with a browser, metadata describing the layer file may not have been published to the portal item. However, you can copy metadata from the original layer file to the portal item using ArcGIS Pro.

  1. Open the catalog view.
  2. Browse to and select the local item in the contents list.
  3. On the Home tab on the ribbon, in the Metadata group, click Save As.
  4. Click Save As > Without Sensitive Info.
  5. On the Save Metadata Without Sensitive Info dialog box, browse to the folder where the XML file will be stored.
  6. Type a name for the XML file in the Name text box.
  7. Click Save.

    The item's ArcGIS metadata content is filtered to remove sensitive information, and the resulting content is saved to an output metadata XML file.

  8. In the catalog view, browse to and select the output metadata XML file.
  9. Click My Content in the Contents pane.
  10. Browse to and click the portal item to which you want to copy the metadata.
  11. On the Home tab on the ribbon, in the Metadata group, click Import Import.
  12. On the Import Metadata dialog box, click the browse button Browse.
  13. On the Browse for source metadata dialog box, browse to and select the output metadata XML file.
  14. Click OK.
  15. Click the Type of metadata to import drop-down arrow and click ArcGIS Metadata.
  16. Click OK.

    The ArcGIS metadata content from the local metadata XML file is copied to the portal item selected in the catalog view.

Edit the portal item's metadata to change any information that should be specific to the portal item.

Copy metadata from a data source to a map layer or stand-alone table

When you add a data source to a map, the map layer or stand-alone table are set to use the data source's metadata. When it's time to publish the layer or table to the active portal, you may prefer to create metadata that is specific to the layer or table describing the information it conveys in the context of the map. For example, all attributes in the data source may not be available when you're working with the map layer. To get started, you can copy the data source's metadata to the map layer or table.

  1. Open a map.
  2. In the Contents pane, right-click the map or select one or more layers or tables in the map and right-click the selected layers or tables.
  3. Click Properties.

    The Properties dialog box appears.

  4. Click the Metadata tab.

    A brief version of the item's metadata appears on the tab. To see full metadata instead, use the catalog view.

  5. For map layers and stand-alone tables, click the drop-down list at the top of the tab and click Layer has its own metadata or Table has its own metadata.
  6. Click the Copy data source's metadata to this layer or Copy data source's metadata to this table button Copy.

    A message appears indicating any existing metadata associated with the map layer or stand-alone table will be replaced by the ArcGIS metadata content copied from the layer's or table's data source.

  7. Click Yes to copy metadata to the map layer or stand-alone table.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click Save on the Quick Access Toolbar to save this change in the project.

    The ArcGIS metadata content from the layer's or table's data source is copied to the map layer or the stand-alone table in the map.

Edit the metadata for the map layer or stand-alone table so the metadata content specifically describes the information communicated by the layer or table in the map. For example, describe how the data was normalized or symbolized to highlight a particular trend in the data.

Import standard-format metadata

Metadata for ArcGIS items must be in the ArcGIS metadata format. Typically, you import metadata when you receive an item from outside your organization and you've just started using it in the ArcGIS platform. The item didn't come with ArcGIS metadata, but metadata was provided for the item in a stand-alone XML file whose content is structured according to a standard-compliant metadata format. If a conversion is available to transfer content from the standard-compliant metadata format to the ArcGIS metadata format, the metadata can be imported to the item and used in ArcGIS Pro.

Importing metadata involves matching metadata elements in the standard-compliant metadata format to the corresponding ArcGIS metadata elements. Some metadata elements, such as those describing properties of a dataset, are not imported. Similarly, unique identifiers will be removed to make sure identifiers for the original metadata document remain unique. The resulting ArcGIS metadata elements are then saved with the item.

An item's metadata is stored as part of the item; metadata is stored differently for each item based on that item's requirements. If the item had existing ArcGIS metadata content, that content will be replaced by the imported ArcGIS metadata content. However, the item's thumbnail, geoprocessing history, and intrinsic properties remain in place in the item's metadata. Finally, the actual properties of the item such as its spatial reference, fields in the attribute table, feature count, and so on are added automatically to its metadata by ArcGIS Pro.

  1. In the catalog view, browse to and select the item to document.
  2. On the Home tab on the ribbon, in the Metadata group, click Import Import.
  3. On the Import Metadata dialog box, click the browse button Browse.
  4. On the Browse for source metadata dialog box, browse to and select the item whose metadata you want to import.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click the Type of metadata to import drop-down arrow and click the standard format associated with the source item's metadata.
    • FGDC CSDGM—The source item's metadata is stored in FGDC CSDGM XML format. FGDC CSDGM-format metadata content is extracted from the item's metadata and converted to ArcGIS metadata format.
    • ISO 19139, INSPIRE, or NAP—All of these metadata styles are associated with the ISO 19139 metadata XML format. ISO 19139-formatted XML content is extracted from the item's metadata and converted to ArcGIS metadata format. Variations of ISO 19139 are accounted for to support the INSPIRE Metadata Directive and the North American Profile.
    • ArcGIS Metadata—ArcGIS metadata content present in the item's metadata is extracted and copied.
    • Discover the type for me—If you don't know what type of metadata is present in the source item's metadata, choose this option. The metadata content is interrogated to determine the format of metadata it contains, and that metadata content is converted to ArcGIS metadata format if necessary.
  7. Click OK.

    Metadata content in the specified format is extracted from the source item's metadata and converted to ArcGIS metadata format. The resulting ArcGIS metadata elements are saved back to the item's metadata. If the item had existing metadata content in ArcGIS metadata format, the existing content is replaced by the imported ArcGIS metadata content. However, the item's thumbnail, geoprocessing history, and intrinsic properties remain in place in the item's metadata. If no metadata content in the specified format exists in the source item's metadata, no metadata is imported to the item selected in the catalog view.

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