File Preparation of a metadata catalogue of water information sources - Structuring the metadata content

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Final version January 2010

EMWIS Technical Unit is managing a 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)”.

 The objective of this project is to prepare a Mediterranean information mechanism on water which is compatible with the Water Information System for Europe –WISE- and that will support the Med Joint Process between the EU Water Initiative and the Water Framework Directive. This mechanism will stream line the access to comparable data related to water in the Mediterranean Partners Country (MPC).

 The project should provide among others an online metadata catalogue of water information sources in Med Partner Countries.

 Metadata is information describing datasets and data services and making it possible to discover, inventory and evaluate their suitability for different purpose and to know the conditions applicable for their use.

 Various international metadata standards exist: metadata describing geographical information are defined in ISO 19115 standard and its revisions, and ISO 15836 (Dublin Core) is one of the most intensively used to describe metadata on textual information. These norms are defining various hundred of metadata elements and give generally the possibility to define its own metadata elements, extending the proposed lists in order to answer to specific needs.


Thus, each organisation producing metadata has to specify which standard and which list of metadata elements they will use, defining their own metadata profile.

 In addition, in order to facilitate cooperation between institutions at regional level, a harmonisation of the profiles and of the way to fulfil each metadata element is necessary.

 The main objective of this study is to present some first draft recommendations on the most adapted metadata profile for the Med-WIS initiative and to suggest domains of values that could be used for some metadata elements, in order to reinforce the interoperability of existing and future catalogues.

 These recommendations could be used as a basis for discussion between the various national and regional partners involved in this project.

 For this study, EMWIS needs, as regard to metadata content, were identified and completed with others identified constraint such as:

-       the INSPIRE implementing rules on metadata

-       the WISE guidance on metadata profile as defined in the latest version of WISE GIS guidance document,

 From this analysis of needs, this report proposes to consider the metadata elements of the WISE metadata profile to describe the water related datasets and data services in the Mediterranean context.

 In order to go through semantic interoperability between the catalogues existing at Euro Mediterranean level, an analysis of domains values used in various water related metadata catalogue was done, and proposals are presented concerning the domains values of some metadata elements.

 These proposals concern:

 -       The domain values of the “Keyword” metadata elements used to identify the “topics” and “places” of the datasets/data services , with 

o   2 potential  metadata elements “keyword” for the “topic” (i.e. theme)

§  Water data domain keyword: using specific acronym for a global classification  within the water sector (i.e. short  closed list of values more adapted than GEMET),

§  Thematic keyword: using GEMET thesaurus (as requested by INSPIRE specifications)

o   3 potential metadata elements “keyword” for the “place”

§  River Basin keyword: using free text in a first stage and establishing progressively an homogeneous list of values

§  Aquifer keyword: using free text in a first stage and establishing progressively an homogeneous list of values

§  Country & Region: using the ISO3166 norm for the list of countries + use of some specific values for the regions

-       The domain values for others metadata elements such as:

o   ‘Topic category’

o   ‘Originating controlled vocabulary’

o   ‘Specification’ & ‘Degree’

o   ‘Metadata standard name’ (additional WISE metadata)

o   ‘Metadata standard version’ (additional WISE metadata)