ISO Scope

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How ISO Does It

The metadata universe has traditionally been classified into bins for collection level, catalog level, and granule level metadata (or some other similar classification scheme). It is not unusual for each of these levels to require a different approach to metadata and tool development.

The ISO 19115 standard changes this picture by including a ScopeCode as a hierarchy level in each metadata record. This code describes what the metadata actually applies to and it can have many values. In fact, it has recently been proposed that this list be expanded considerably.

The Scope Code can be used at three different locations in the ISO standard: in the metadata record itself, as shown here, or in a data quality or maintenance report. For example, this allows a quality report about specific attributes or features or for particular collection hardware, for example. Several aspects of data quality in ISO 19115 are discussed in another presentation in this series (see

We may need to rethink some of our traditional divisions as we learn to use this powerful new capability in ISO.

+ fileIdentifier [0..1] : CharacterString
+ language [0..1] : CharacterString
+ characterSet [0..1] : MD_CharacterSetCode = "utf8"
+ parentIdentifier [0..1] : CharacterString
+ hierarchyLevel [0..*] : MD_ScopeCode
+ hierarchyLevelName [0..*] : CharacterString
+ contact [1..*] : CI_ResponsibleParty
+ dateStamp : Date
+ metadataStandardName [0..1] : CharacterString
+ metadataStandardVersion [0..1] : CharacterString
+ dataSetURI [0..1] : CharacterString

+ attribute
+ attributeType
+ collectionHardware
+ collectionSession
+ dataset
+ series
+ nonGeographicDataset
+ dimensionGroup
+ feature
+ featureType
+ propertyType
+ fieldSession
+ software
+ service
+ model
+ tile

ScopeCodes can apply to:
1) MD_Metadata
2) DQ_DataQuality
3) MD_MaintenanceInformation

ESIP Response


  • Ken Casey – We needs documentation for 1. Users, 2. Ingest systems, 3. And more
  • Jeff Arnfield – Yes yes. Variable audience sophistication and end use (discover, evaluation/analysis, planning)
  • Ed Armstrong Different docs for users, data access etc.
  • John Scialdone: - Archive, access, discovery



  • (2 unknowns) one size fits all
  • D. Jacob