In the table and linked summary pages, CSDGM refers to the June 8, 1994 version of the Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata and CSDGM (1998) refers to the July 1998 version of the Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata. An 'Intelligent' metadata tool is one that automatically extracts some metadata from data files that it supports. Under Metadata Storage Structure, 'Discrete' means that each document exists as a standalone (probably ASCII) document. 'Database' means at least some of the metadata is stored in a database so sections which are common to several documents are not redundantly stored.
Any metadata which accompanies these tools as sample output should not be taken as 'example' metadata, i.e. they are samples of tool output, not samples to illustrate squeaky clean metadata!
When I first began compiling these reviews for the NSGIC Metadata Primer in 1996, I used a small set of summary items; some of the oldest continuously running reviews (e.g. the one for mp) still show that form. Tools that appeared on the scene later were generally evaluated using the more extensive MITRE Corporation criteria. Those criteria were developed from the input of many metadata implementors and metadata tool users.
The testing method is fairly simple. If the software tool is successfully installed, it is used to document a data set. In the process however, I specifically try to make the tool fail. The two weakest areas for most metadata tools are: the inability the hold a lot of text in a free text field, and the inability to deal with elements that can repeat. During the testing process I watch for nifty features, annoying characteristics and trouble areas. In some of the reviews I offer suggestions for improvements that the tool author could consider or hints that help the user make better use of the tool.
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