Data Discovery (ACDD)

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Nearly a decade ago, the netCDF Group at Unidata recommended a set of netCDF attributes (the NetCDF Attribute Convention for Dataset Discovery) to enable data discovery. This convention was designed to augment the Climate-Forecast conventions that were already being used to facilitate data accessibility in netCDF via tools. The ACDD was adopted as the basis for the ncISO tool developed at NGDC and incorporated into THREDDS with the goal of providing ISO 19115-compliant discovery metadata for datasets in THREDDS that supported the ACDD. The governance of these conventions has since been taken over by the ESIP Documentation Cluster.

This page includes ACDD recommendations at three levels: highly recommended, recommended, and suggested.

Attribute Convention for Data Discovery - Highly Recommended

These attributes are highly recommended by the Attribute Convention for Data Discovery

Source: ACDD Home Page
ConceptDescriptionDialect (Fit) Paths
Resource TitleA short description of the resource. The title should be descriptive enough so that when a user is presented with a list of titles the general content of the data set can be determined.ADIwg /adiwg:project/adiwg:idinfo/adiwg:citation/adiwg:citeinfo/adiwg:title
DIF /dif:DIF/dif:Entry_Title
DIF /dif:DIF/dif:Data_Set_Citation/dif:Dataset_Title
DCAT /dct:title
Dryad dcterms:title
ECHO /*/echo:ShortName>/*/echo:LongName
ECS /*/ecs:ShortName > /*/ecs:LongName
EML /eml:dataset/eml:title/eml:text
FGDC /fgdc:metadata/fgdc:idinfo/fgdc:citation/fgdc:citeinfo/fgdc:title
HDF5.1 /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='title']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
HDF5.1 /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Group[@Name='METADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='COLLECTIONMETADATA']/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='LongName']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
ISO /*/gmd:identificationInfo/*/gmd:citation/gmd:CI_Citation/gmd:title/gco:CharacterString
ISO-1 /mdb:MD_Metadata/mdb:identificationInfo/*/mri:citation/cit:CI_Citation/cit:title/gco:CharacterString
UMM /umm:UMM/umm:CollectionCitation/umm:Title
OGC-SOS /sos:Capabilities/ows:ServiceIdentification/ows:Title
SERF /serf:SERF/serf:Entry_Title
THREDDS /thredds:catalog/thredds:dataset/@name
THREDDS /thredds:catalog/thredds:dataset/thredds:metadata/dc:title
THREDDS //thredds:dataset[1]/@name
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=title]/@nc:value
AbstractA paragraph describing the resource.

Note: This concept is called "Desciption" in Catalog Services for the Web.
ADIwg /adiwg:project/adiwg:idinfo/adiwg:descript/adiwg:abstract
DIF /dif:DIF/dif:Summary/dif:Abstract
DCAT /dct:description
Dryad dcterms:description
ECHO /*/echo:Description
ECS /*/ecs:CollectionDescription
EML /eml:dataset/eml:abstract/eml:descendant
FGDC /fgdc:metadata/fgdc:idinfo/fgdc:descript/fgdc:abstract
HDF5.1 /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='summary']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
HDF5.1 /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Group[@Name='METADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='COLLECTIONMETADATA']/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='CollectionDescription']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
ISO /*/gmd:identificationInfo/*/gmd:abstract/gco:CharacterString
ISO-1 /mdb:MD_Metadata/mdb:identificationInfo/*/mri:abstract/gco:CharacterString
UMM /umm:UMM/umm:Summary
OGC-SOS /sos:Capabilities/ows:ServiceIdentification/ows:Abstract
SERF /serf:SERF/serf:Summary/serf:Abstract
THREDDS //thredds:dataset/thredds:documentation[@type='abstract']
THREDDS //thredds:metadata/thredds:documentation[@type='abstract']
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name='summary']/@nc:value
Theme KeywordA word or phrase that describes some aspect of a resource. Can be one of several types.

Note: The general identification keywords usually have a type of "theme" and are refered to as "theme keywords". Other types and vocabularies are used for other information. Service Entry Resource Format (SERF) requires a Science and a Service GCMD Keyword. This concept is called Subject in the CSW Specification.
ADIwg /adiwg:project/adiwg:idinfo/adiwg:keywords/adiwg:theme/adiwg:themekey
DIF (1) /dif:DIF/dif:Parameters/dif:Category
DIF (1) /dif:DIF/dif:Parameters/dif:Topic
DIF (1) /dif:DIF/dif:Parameters/dif:Term
DIF (1) /dif:DIF/dif:Parameters/dif:Variable_Level_1
DIF (1) /dif:DIF/dif:Parameters/dif:Variable_Level_2
DIF (1) /dif:DIF/dif:Parameters/dif:Variable_Level_3
DIF (1) /dif:DIF/dif:Parameters/dif:Detailed_Variable
DCAT /dct:keyword
Dryad dcterms:subject
ECHO (1) /*/echo:ScienceKeywords/echo:ScienceKeyword/echo:CategoryKeyword
ECHO (1) /*/echo:ScienceKeywords/echo:ScienceKeyword/echo:TopicKeyword
ECHO (1) /*/echo:ScienceKeywords/echo:ScienceKeyword/echo:TermKeyword
ECHO (1) /*/echo:ScienceKeywords/echo:ScienceKeyword/echo:VariableLevel1Keyword/echo:Value
ECHO (1) /*/echo:ScienceKeywords/echo:ScienceKeyword/echo:VariableLevel2Keyword/echo:Value
ECHO (1) /*/echo:ScienceKeywords/echo:ScienceKeyword/echo:VariableLevel3Keyword
ECHO (1) /*/echo:ScienceKeywords/echo:ScienceKeyword/echo:DetailedVariableKeyword
ECS (1) /*/ecs:DisciplineTopicParameters/ecs:DisciplineKeyword
ECS (1) /*/ecs:DisciplineTopicParameters/ecs:TopicKeyword
ECS (1) /*/ecs:DisciplineTopicParameters/ecs:TermKeyword
ECS (1) /*/ecs:DisciplineTopicParameters/ecs:VariableKeyword
EML (1) /eml:dataset/eml:keywordSet/eml:keyword/eml:text
FGDC /fgdc:metadata/fgdc:idinfo/fgdc:keywords/fgdc:theme/fgdc:themekey
HDF5.1 (1) /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='keywords']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
HDF5.1 (1) /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Group[@Name='METADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='COLLECTIONMETADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='DisciplineTopicParameters']/hdf5:Group/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='ECSDisciplineKeyword']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
HDF5.1 (1) /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Group[@Name='METADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='COLLECTIONMETADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='DisciplineTopicParameters']/hdf5:Group/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='ECSTermKeyword']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
HDF5.1 (1) /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Group[@Name='METADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='COLLECTIONMETADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='DisciplineTopicParameters']/hdf5:Group/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='ECSTopicKeyword']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
HDF5.1 (1) /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Group[@Name='METADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='COLLECTIONMETADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='DisciplineTopicParameters']/hdf5:Group/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='ECSVariableKeyword']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
HDF5.1 (1) /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Group[@Name='METADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='COLLECTIONMETADATA']/hdf5:Group[@Name='DisciplineTopicParameters']/hdf5:Group/hdf5:Group[@Name='ECSParameter']/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='ECSParameterKeyword']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
ISO (1) /*/gmd:identificationInfo/*/gmd:descriptiveKeywords/gmd:MD_Keywords[gmd:type/gmd:MD_KeywordTypeCode=[normalize-space()="theme"]]/gmd:keyword/gco:CharacterString
ISO-1 /mdb:MD_Metadata/mdb:identificationInfo/*/mri:descriptiveKeywords/mri:MD_Keywords[mri:type/mri:MD_KeywordTypeCode=[normalize-space()="theme"]]/mri:keyword/gco:CharacterString
UMM (1) /umm:UMM/umm:ScienceKeywords/umm:Category
UMM (1) /umm:UMM/umm:ScienceKeywords/umm:Topic
UMM (1) /umm:UMM/umm:ScienceKeywords/umm:Term
UMM (1) /umm:UMM/umm:ScienceKeywords/umm:VariableLevel1/umm:Value
UMM (1) /umm:UMM/umm:ScienceKeywords/umm:VariableLevel1/umm:VariableLevel2/umm:Value
UMM (1) /umm:UMM/umm:ScienceKeywords/umm:VariableLevel1/umm:VariableLevel2/umm:VariableLevel3/umm:Value
UMM (1) /umm:UMM/umm:ScienceKeywords/umm:DetailedVariable
OGC-SOS (1) /sos:Capabilities/ows:ServiceIdentification/ows:Keywords[ows:Type='theme']/ows:Keyword
SERF /serf:SERF/serf:Keyword
THREDDS (1) //thredds:metadata/thredds:keyword
THREDDS (1) //thredds:dataset/thredds:keyword
netCDF (1) /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=keywords]/@nc:value



Attribute Convention for Data Discovery - Suggested

These attributes are suggested by the Attribute Convention for Data Discovery

Source: ACDD Home Page
ConceptDescriptionDialect (Fit) Paths
Contributor NameContributor to the resourceFGDC /fgdc:metadata/fgdc:citation/fgdc:citeinfo/fgdc:origin
FGDC /fgdc:metadata/fgdc:idinfo/fgdc:datacred
FGDC /fgdc:metadata/fgdc:metainfo/fgdc:metc/fgdc:cntinfo
ISO /*/gmd:identificationInfo/*/gmd:citation/gmd:CI_Citation/gmd:citedResponsibleParty/gmd:CI_ResponsibleParty[gmd:role/gmd:CI_RoleCode = 'manyOptions"]]/gmd:CI_Individual/gmd:name/gco:CharacterString
ISO-1 /mdb:MD_Metadata/mdb:identificationInfo/*/mri:citation/cit:CI_Citation/cit:citedResponsibleParty/cit:CI_Responsibility[cit:role/cit:CI_RoleCode[normalize-space()="manyOptions"]]/cit:party/cit:CI_Individual/cit:name/gco:CharacterString
THREDDS /thredds:catalog/thredds:metadata/thredds:contributor
THREDDS /thredds:catalog/thredds:dataset/thredds:contributor
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=creator_name]/@nc:value
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=contributor_name]/@nc:value
Contributor RoleThe role of any individuals or institutions that contributed to the creation of the data.ISO /*/gmd:identificationInfo/*/gmd:citation/gmd:CI_Citation/gmd:citedResponsibleParty/gmd:CI_ResponsibleParty/gmd:role/gmd:CI_RoleCode
ISO-1 /mdb:MD_Metadata/mdb:identificationInfo/*/mri:citation/cit:CI_Citation/cit:citedResponsibleParty/cit:CI_Responsibility/cit:role/cit:CI_RoleCode
THREDDS /thredds:catalog/thredds:dataset/thredds:contributor/@role
THREDDS /thredds:catalog/thredds:metadata/thredds:contributor/@role
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=contributor_role]/@nc:value
PublisherPublisher of the cited resourceDIF /dif:DIF/dif:Data_Set_Citation/dif:Dataset_Publisher
DIF /dif:DIF/dif:Reference/dif:Publisher
DCAT /dct:publisher
FGDC /fgdc:metadata/fgdc:idinfo/fgdc:citation/fgdc:citeinfo/fgdc:pubinfo/fgdc:publish
HDF5.1 /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='publisher']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
ISO //gmd:CI_ResponsibleParty[gmd:role/gmd:CI_RoleCode[normalize-space()="publisher"]]/gmd:organisationName/gco:CharacterString
ISO-1 //cit:CI_Responsibility[cit:role/cit:CI_RoleCode[normalize-space()="publisher"]]/cit:party/cit:CI_Organisation/cit:name/gco:CharacterString
THREDDS //thredds:dataset/thredds:publisher/thredds:name
THREDDS //thredds:metadata/thredds:publisher/thredds:name
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=publisher_name]/@nc:value
Publisher URLWorld Wide Web address associated with the publisher of the cited resourceDIF /dif:DIF/dif:Reference/dif:Publication_Place
HDF5.1 /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='publisher_url']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
ISO //gmd:CI_Citation/gmd:citedResponsibleParty/gmd:CI_ResponsibleParty[gmd:role/gmd:CI_RoleCode ='publisher"]]/gmd:contactInfo/gmd:CI_Contact/gmd:onlineResource/gmd:CI_OnlineResource/gmd:linkage/gmd:URL
ISO-1 //cit:CI_Citation/cit:citedResponsibleParty/cit:CI_Responsibility[cit:role/cit:CI_RoleCode ='publisher"]]/cit:party/*/cit:contactInfo/cit:CI_Contact/cit:onlineResource/cit:CI_OnlineResource/cit:linkage/gco:CharacterString
THREDDS //thredds:metadata/thredds:publisher/thredds:contact/@url
THREDDS //thredds:dataset/thredds:publisher/thredds:contact/@url
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=publisher_url]/@nc:value
Publisher E-MailEmail associated with the publisher of the cited resourceDIF /dif:DIF/dif:Reference/dif:Publication_Place
HDF5.1 /hdf5:HDF5-File/hdf5:RootGroup/hdf5:Attribute[@Name='publisher_email']/hdf5:Data/hdf5:DataFromFile
ISO //gmd:CI_Citation/gmd:citedResponsibleParty/gmd:CI_ResponsibleParty[gmd:role/gmd:CI_RoleCode ='publisher"]]/gmd:contactInfo/gmd:address/gmd:CI_Address/gmd:electronicMailAddress/gco:CharacterString
ISO-1 //cit:CI_Citation/cit:citedResponsibleParty/cit:CI_Responsibility[cit:role/cit:CI_RoleCode ='publisher"]]/cit:party/*/cit:contactInfo/cit:CI_Contact/cit:address/cit:CI_Address/cit:electronicMailAddress/gco:CharacterString
THREDDS //thredds:metadata/thredds:publisher/thredds:contact/@email
THREDDS //thredds:dataset/thredds:publisher/thredds:contact/@email
netCDF /nc:netcdf/nc:attribute[@nc:name=publisher_email]/@nc:value

xPath Note: The xPaths included in this table use several wildcards. // means any path, so //gmd:CI_ResponsibleParty indicates a gmd:CI_ResponsibleParty anywhere in an XML file. /*/ indicates a single level with several possible elements. This usually indicates one of several concrete realizations of an abstract object. For example /*/gmd:identificationInfo could be gmd:MD_Metadata/gmd:identificationInfo or gmi:MI_Metadata/gmd:identificationInfo and gmd:identificationInfo/*/gmd:descriptiveKeywords could be gmd:identificationInfo/gmd:MD_DataIdentification/gmd:descriptiveKeywords or gmd:identificationInfo/srv:SV_ServiceIdentification/gmd:descriptiveKeywords. Fit: The fit of the dialect path with the concept is estimated on a scale of 1 = excellent two-way fit, 2 = one-way fit or some other problem, 3 - extension required.


Data Discoverability /Accessibility