Every scientist recognizes the critical role that dataset metadata plays in the access, understanding, exploitation and archiving of their data for future generations (or should by now)!

But modern metadata standards are managed in XML, a cryptic language that scientists don’t always speak. This inhibits even the savviest scientist or data manager from documenting their data. Not to mention the folks in the field who are so busy collecting the data that they hardly want to spend time learning XML.

Until now, building a customized metadata editor that's easy to use required hiring a (expensive) programmer. Even after it was done, making the slightest change required pleading for indulgence from your programmers, followed by waiting a week while the change was deployed to your production environment, sigh!

So for the EMMA Enterprise Metadata Management Architecture we use in NOAA, we decided to eschew the programmers. Now all you need to build your own custom metadata editor(s) is basic knowledge of XML and HTML (and optionally JavaScript). Our builder is implemented using XSLT, a kind of XML template language, that's fast and easy to learn for the purposes of this editor builder. Changes to your editor are instantly visible, requiring no tedious deployment process.

How it works

Chameleon Editor (CEdit) was originally a part of our Docucomp component manager that we called "mEmE". We presented a poster last year at the CIRES Rendezvous on it. This poster, while somewhat out of date, shows how the system can be used to build custom metadata forms a data provider or manager can easily use:

How CEdit (nee' mEmE) Works

National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), NOAA Satellite and Information Service EMMA