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Customizing metadata

Release 9.3
Last modified May 9, 2012
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Note: This topic was updated for 9.3.1.

Several parts of the ArcCatalog metadata system can be customized. Examples of all types of custom metadata components can be found at ESRI Developer Network (EDN).

You can create new Extensible Style Language Transformations (XSLT) style sheets that provide summaries for managers or that show only the information a person is required to provide so that they can quickly evaluate the work that needs to be done. Some example data dictionary style sheets are provided at the ESRI Developer Network (EDN)—search for Metadata Stylesheets in the Code Exchange. Once you have created a custom style sheet, place it in the Metadata/Stylesheets folder in the location where ArcGIS Desktop is installed.

You can create custom metadata editors to use with ArcCatalog. For example, a custom editor might show only three metadata elements and be used when a data processor finishes updating features. Another custom editor might be used to add documentation following a different metadata content standard. Or, an editor could let a company add elements that record business procedures such as whether or not a data source has passed a quality control review. If you build an editor that adds custom elements to the metadata and you want to see them in ArcCatalog, you must also build new, or customize existing, style sheets to include these elements. Custom editors must be added to the "Metadata Editors" component category.

If you don't want to build an entire editor on your own, you can add custom pages to the ISO metadata editor. Instructions for doing so are included as comments in the ESRI Developer Network (EDN)—search for Metadata ISO in the Code Exchange. Custom pages must be added to a specific registry key before they will appear in the ISO metadata editor.

You can also build custom synchronizers, importers, and exporters. A custom synchronizer could add properties of a data source following a different metadata standard, or it could add template information with the appropriate contact person and legal information every time metadata is created or updated. If contact information for your organization is stored in a central database, a custom importer could be used to pull that information into the metadata.

A custom exporter might use XSLT style sheets to transform the metadata to a stand–alone XML file rather than transform it to HTML for display. These style sheets should be placed in the Metadata/Stylesheets folder, but their names should begin with an underscore (_) so that they don't appear in the stylesheets drop-down list on the Metadata toolbar. An example of this is in the ESRI Developer Network (EDN)—search for Template Exporter in the Code Exchange; it exports a stand–alone XML document that can be used to copy information to many different metadata documents.

If you have published metadata to an ArcIMS Metadata Server, you can customize the look and feel of the Metadata Explorer and customize the search criteria that can be defined. Similarly, if you have an existing metadata database, you could create a custom search engine for ArcCatalog that knows how to send the search parameters to that database and format the results correctly for presentation.

To learn more about customizing the metadata components in ArcCatalog, see the Geodatabase and ArcCatalog chapters in the book Exploring ArcObjects.

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