The Doe family consists of mother Jane and her son John. Identifying people and relationships is an important function of metadata. The ISO TC211 metadata standards provide a comprehensive framework for many important metadata use cases. Could ISO metadata be used to describe the Doe family?
ISO metadata describes objects with types and properties. ISO types generally start with uppercase letters followed by an underscore (MD_, CI_, ...) and have identifiers (id and uuid). Properties are in lower camel case (e.g. contactInfo) and have references (xlink:href and uuidref) that link to objects with content for those properties.
In ISO metadata, Jane and John are objects that have types (CI_Individual) and identifiers (JaneDoe and JohnDoe) which are given as id properties. Jane has a son (the property) whose identifier is JohnDoe, indicated with the reference (xlink:href) to JohnDoe associated with the property of son. John has a mother (the property) named JaneDoe, indicated by the reference to Jane associated with the mother property.
Using identifiers and references simplifies metadata creation and maintenance, improves consistency, and facilitates reuse of people, organizations, or citations referenced using links (like web pages) rather than repetitive content. More about that later.
This blog is included in a series related to ISO TC211 metadata standards. The goal of the series is to improve understanding and to examine and compare how the standards are being used by various groups around the world. Some of the background content was originally available on the NOAA GEO-IDE wiki. It will be updated in this series.