File Preparation of a metadata catalogue of water information sources - Review of existing tools

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Contributor eric

Final version January 2009

On the basis of the project funded by the DG Env of the European Commission, entitled “Towards a Mediterranean Water Information Mechanism compatible with the Water Information System for Europe (WISE)”, EMWIS Technical Unit is preparing an Information System aiming at streamlining access to quality data related to water in the Mediterranean Partners Country (MPC).

 Work package n°2 of this project, related to the development of a metadata catalogue of water information sources in MPC is addressed by the present work.

 Developing such a solution implies various tasks:

1.    A review of existing tools taking into account EMWIS, INSPIRE and WISE requirements on metadata tools in order to identify the most suitable solution to be set up and to ensure the technical interoperability with the main identified European Metadata catalogue tools,

2.    A definition of reference labeling dealing with the content of the metadata themselves. Keywords, glossary and profiles need to be examined in order to ensure a common metadata understanding and usage among MPC. Multilingual issues will also need to be carefully studied to comply with the main languages used in the MPC,

3.    The animation of an expert workshop on metadata management to agree on common procedures and common rules on metadata management,

4.    The online implementation of the elected metadata catalogue tool and the transmission of the necessary skills to feed the tool via guidance documents,

5.    Finally, the metadata collection aiming at filling-in the tool with metadata harvested or directly written on a web interface.

 The task 1 “review of existing tools” is the objective of the present report. It was organized as follow:

-          Identification of requirements based on EMWIS’ needs and INSPIRE specifications on metadata catalogues.

-          Then, an inventory of the main existing metadata catalogues directly or indirectly used for water resource management was carried out. Existing catalogues at International, European, National and Euro-Mediterranean levels were taken into account,

-          Once the main metadata catalog tools were identified, they were confronted to the requirements identified in step 1. One tool was proposed to be used for the next steps of the project.

-          Eventually, interoperability between this tool and main identified European catalogues was addressed.

 In the framework of the feasibility study on the Mediterranean Water Observation Mechanism, Geonetwork open source software has been successfully tested. Strengthened by this experience EMWIS contacts have now a good overview of their needs toward a metadata catalogue tool. Interviews with EMWIS representatives have helped identifying 14 mandatory and 6 optional elements.

 INSPIRE Implementing Rules on Metadata have been published in EU Member States languages at the beginning of December 2008. Most of those requirements are about Metadata Elements specifications, their definition and multiplicity. It does not directly addresse metadata management tools development. But INSPIRE literature has been intensively used to extract requirements on metadata management tools. Thus, 13 requirements have been identified that way.

An analysis matrix was then built upon those 27 mandatory and 6 optional elements.

 Before confronting several tools to this analysis matrix, a state of the art of the current metadata tools deployed in water related web sites was carried out. Two main open-source tools and specific developments were identified. In order to be as complete as possible, using the common literature on this subject (reference Internet websites, forums …), six other tools where added to this selection.

 From the requirement matrix analysis process, Geonetwork Open Source was proposed as the most suitable tool for the next steps of this project. This tool is fulfilling all mandatory requirements plus some optional ones. It has an ever growing community and involvement in metadata catalog projects all around the world.

 The technical interoperability between Geonetwork and main existing metadata catalogs (WISE, INSPIRE, EUROSTAT) will be assured given that the same international protocols are, or will be, implemented in all the solutions.

 Specific metadata interoperability issues (profile or glossary/thesaurus) have also been mentioned. These points will be addressed in the second task of this project.