Harmonization of Metadata Standards

Metadata standards are often described in terms of element names and definitions. A standard defines the rules for how the metadata are structured and also the appropriate content for the various elements.

However, different standards can be stated in different ways. In other words, a particular standard (the source standard) doesn’t have to use the same element labels (names) for similar content, or allow the same terms to be filled in to each element as another standard (the target standard).

In the harmonization process, the source and target metadata standards are resolved with the same syntax or model. In the simplest case, this is done by creating a table of fields from each standard in a common application (e.g., a spreadsheet). The table rows would likely contain elements from the source standard that are in some way related to elements of the target standard. In the simplest case, there would be one-to-one relationships between source elements and target elements.

In more complex harmonization cases, there are one-to-many or many-to-one relationships. Also, intra-relationships between the elements within a single standard must be thoroughly described as part of the harmonization process. Of course, this implies the elements must be thoroughly described in the source and target standard.

Suggested Citation

Wang, H., Isenor, A., Graybeal, J. 2011. "Harmonization of Metadata Standards." In The MMI Guides: Navigating the World of Marine Metadata. http://marinemetadata.org/guides/mdatastandards/crosswalks/harmonization. Accessed July 16, 2020.