Minnesota Metadata Guidelines and ArcCatalog

In ArcGIS version 8 and 9, ESRI GIS software has a built-in metadata management tool within the ArcCatalog module.  This tool follows the federal Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata but can be adapted for other standards, such as the Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines (MGMG), a streamlined version of the federal standard.  The files that customize ArcCatalog 8 and 9 for MGMG are free online from this webpage.

What's new

ArcGIS 10:  Unfortunately, the MGMG Editor does not work with ArcGIS 10. A standalone tool, the Minnesota Metadata Editor (MME), is available instead.

For more information on how ArcGIS 10 handles metadata, see these pages on Esri's website:

What are editors and stylesheets?
Download and install MGMG files  latest version 7/16/04
Importing DataLogr records
Known inconsistency
Exporting ArcCatalog records
Source code
More information

What are editors and stylesheets?

Definitions: ArcCatalog provides an editor to allow users to create and modify metadata files according to the federal metadata standard, and it uses stylesheets to determine how the metadata files will look on the screen. Different stylesheets will change the user’s view of the metadata without changing the way the metadata is internally stored. ArcCatalog allows users the option of customizing both editors and stylesheets to meet their own needs.

FGDC and ISO Editors: ArcCatalog Version 8.1 provided an FGDC editor to match the full federal metadata standard defined by the Federal Geographic Data Committee. At Version 8.2 it added a draft ISO editor to match the forthcoming International Standards Organization (ISO) metadata standard.

MGMG Editor: The Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities created an ArcCatalog editor that matches the Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines (MGMG), Version 1.2. Since it contains only one third as many fields as the FGDC editor, it is simpler and easier to use. DataLogr software users will find its fields and help text familiar. Dates are stored in machine-readable standard format (YYYYMMDD) to facilitate searching but are displayed in a friendlier format (MM/DD/YYYY).

MGMG Stylesheet: Internally, all metadata is stored in XML format. To display the metadata, the ArcCatalog user can choose different stylesheets from a pulldown menu. Several stylesheets are packaged with ArcCatalog.  Among them are:

  • FGDC – the full federal metadata standard
  • ESRI – a simplified version of the federal standard that contains several additional, automatically filled-in fields

MnGeo has created a stylesheet that gives metadata the look and feel of the Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines. It can display metadata created with ArcCatalog's FGDC editor or metadata that has been imported from another tool.

These tools enable the user to go back and forth between the state's DataLogr metadata collection tool and the tools provided within ArcCatalog. They ensure that metadata created using DataLogr can be migrated to ESRI metadata tools and that metadata created within ArcCatalog can be converted into DataLogr format.

Note that the MGMG conversion utility (wmeta32.exe), used to create HTML, XML, DataLogr, and CSV formats, is also included in the download.

Download and install MGMG files

To add the Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines editor and stylesheet to ArcCatalog, first download the file MGMG_Editor_installer.exe:

Download MGMG Metadata Editor (MGMG_Editor_installer.exe, Version 1.2, 1.8 MB, 10/13/03; revised converter added 2/2/04; updated .BAT file for Arc 9 added 7/16/04) (if using Internet Explorer, right click and choose "Save Target As...")  NOTE:  We recommend using ArcGIS version 8.2 or higher. Earlier versions may cause errors.

To install:

  1. Make sure ArcCatalog, ArcMap, and ArcToolbox are closed!

  2. Run MGMG_Editor_installer.exe
  3. by double-clicking this file in Windows Explorer
  4. Accept the default specified folder by pressing "Unzip".  This installs files into the following locations:

  5.       C:\arcgis\MGMG_Editor\MGMG_Editor.dll
          C:\arcgis\MGMG_Editor\tutorial\ [MGMG_ArcCatalog_tutorial.pdf along with supporting shapefiles, and a blank starter template]
          C:\arcgis\MGMG_Editor\converter\ [wmeta32.exe, four template files, and supporting documentation]
  6. Close Winzip self extractor

  7. Double-click Register.bat (see above location). Note: the Register.bat program copies the stylesheet MGMG.xsl to its correct internal location:
         Version 8.2:  C:\arcgis\arcexe82\Metadata\Stylesheets
         Version 8.3:  C:\arcgis\arcexe83\Metadata\Stylesheets
         Version 9:  C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Metadata\Stylesheets
  8. Click "OK" in the registry notification message

To use: When you click on the "Create Metadata" or "Edit Metadata" icons in ArcCatalog, a metadata editor (input form window) is automatically opened and readied for data entry. Any metadata elements that have already been entered appear in the form in the appropriate fields. The FGDC Editor is the default editor that is opened.  Once it has been installed, you can make the MGMG Editor your default editor. To change the default editor, go to ArcCatalog's Tools menu, choose "Options . . .", and click the Metadata Tab.  At the bottom of the metadata page, go to the "Editing Metadata" section. Click on the "Metadata Editor" pulldown list, and click on "MGMG Editor". This editor will now be activated every time you choose to create or edit metadata. While the Metadata Tab is still active, you can make the MGMG Stylesheet your default stylesheet. Go to "Viewing Metadata" at the top of the metadata page and select "MGMG" from the "Default Stylesheet" pulldown list.

For more detailed instructions, use the short tutorial provided at:  C:\arcgis\MGMG_Editor\tutorial\MGMG_ArcCatalog_tutorial.pdf

Importing DataLogr records

Metadata created using DataLogr software can be imported into ArcCatalog and viewed with the MGMG stylesheet. If necessary, further edits can be made using the MGMG Editor:

  1. Use the MGMG conversion utility (wmeta32.exe), packaged with both DataLogr and the ArcCatalog MGMG Editor, to create an XML version of the metadata record you have created in DataLogr (see the DataLogr manual bundled with the converter for instructions on using the MGMG conversion utility). Note: The converter download file was last revised 2/2/04. If you have an earlier version, download the revised utility here.

    At this point, you can view the record by navigating to it in ArcCatalog, clicking on the metadata filename, and choosing the "Metadata" Tab. If you want to associate the .xml record with a particular data set, you need to import it using the next steps (Note:  ArcCatalog version 8.1 or newer is recommended for importing; 8.0 does not handle all elements correctly.)
  2. Within ArcCatalog, select the GIS file corresponding to the XML metadata, and click on the "Metadata" tab.
  3. Next, click on the "Import Metadata" icon which is on the toolbar immediately above the main viewing window. An "Import Metadata" window will appear.
  4. In the "Import Metadata" window, select format "FGDC CSDGM (XML)" or "XML" from the pulldown list in the "Format" box. Then enter the location and name of your metadata file (with the .xml extension) in the "Location" box.
  5. Very important:  Unclick (disable) the "automatic update of metadata" option. Otherwise certain fields that you have already filled in (such as the title of your data set) will automatically be overwritten.
  6. Click "OK."

If the metadata is associated with a shapefile, the Import routine will rename the metadata file with the shapefile name followed by .shp.xml and will store it in the directory containing the shapefile. If the metadata is associated with a coverage or grid file, it will be renamed metadata.xml and will be stored in the coverage or grid directory.

Known inconsistency

One known inconsistency exists between the HTML format produced by DataLogr's MGMG converter and the MGMG stylesheet (the underlying metadata record is the same – only the display is different).

HTML ArcCatalog MGMG stylesheet
Lineage text begins on the same line as the element name. Lineage text begins one line below the element name - this allows the federal standard's repeating fields to be inserted into MGMG's single field.


Exporting ArcCatalog records

Metadata created in ArcCatalog using either the MGMG Editor or the FGDC Editor can be used in DataLogr. To do so, you need a version of the metadata converter (wmeta32.exe) dated 6/5/2002 or later. You can use the 'metadata.xml' as the input file, choosing the "File Type:sgml/xml" option on the converter as the file input type. The converter can then create .HTM, .LGR, and .CSV files. The .LGR file can then be used in DataLogr.  (Note:  you will want to change the filename from 'metadata.xml' to your coverage name or shapefile name + .xml if you are converting more than one metadata record.)


Error:  "SDE Feature Class, Editor is not meant to be used with this file type"  You may get this message when using the MGMG Editor on an SDE feature class.

Solution:  Just hit the "OK" button in the error message box and the editor should work fine.

Explanation:  The message is just informational. At the time the editor was written, the programmer did not have access to ArcSDE to test it. Since then, he has tested it with ArcSDE 9.0 with SQL Server 2000 and it appears to work with no problems. In this version, the message box cannot be disabled so it just remains as a minor nuisance.

Source code

The author of the MGMG Editor and Stylesheet has made the source code available for free download on ESRI's ArcScripts website.

More information

Questions or comments about the MGMG editor or stylesheet? Contact the Minnesota Geographic Data Clearinghouse at gisinfo.mngeo@state.mn.us.

Geographic Data Clearinghouse