[MIMAS logo] MIMAS Metadatabase: Metadata Creation and Update

Initial Metadata Creation

The initial MIMAS metadata covering all the MIMAS services was created by one person as part of the set-up project, much of it being scraped from the existing MIMAS service web pages. The initial draft of metadata records for each service was checked by the particular support staff, thus ensuring quality metadata for each MIMAS service.

Lacking a suitable XML authoring tool, the MIMAS metadata was originally created as XML files using an XML template and a text editor. The created XML is validated by parsing against an XML Document Type Definition (DTD) before the record is indexed in the metadatabase.

Metadata Maintenance

It is envisaged that the metadata will be maintained by the MIMAS service support staff in the future, as part of the standard support process for each MIMAS service.

A specific, web-form editor for metadata creation and updating has been developed. This tool captures metadata by field, includes links to standard schemes for subject keyword selection and classification, and provides 'selection' lists for particular vocabularies. The required XML is created at the back end, effectively transparently. It allows a metadata creator to save and view the eventual display of the record within the application before making a final 'commit' to the metadatabase. Such a tool is essential when the metadata maintenance is performed by more than one person. Metadatabase editing guidelines are available.

Metadatabase Update Process

Updating of the Metadatabase occurs overnight when a record within the database has been edited and 'committed'. The human MIMAS Metadata Editor is notified by email both when an edited Meatdatabase record has been committed and when the Metadatabase has been updated. This allows the Editor to maintain a quality check on the Metadatabase records.

The 'master' copies of the XML metadata records controlled by the Metadatabase Editor are maintained as XML files within a directory structure that reflects the MIMAS service areas. When the Metadatabase is updated these files are copied to become the 'master' copies for the Metadatabase before they are copied into the Cheshire database and indexed.

The MIMAS Metadata hierarchy is automatically updated when the Metadatabase is updated.

Future Developments

Development work on the Metadatabase Editor has now ceased apart from maintenance. Possible future developments, given development resource, would include:

Future developments of the metadata could include:


The MIMAS Metadatabase project was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) for the UK Higher and Further Education Councils as part of the JISC Services DNER: Z39.50/Authentication Programme.

9 February 2004, epub@manchester.ac.uk          [Go to MIMAS home page]          [Valid XHTML 1.0!]