California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Related Links


Department of Fish & Wildlife
Biogeographic Data Branch

Physical Address:
1700 9th Street, 4th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95811

Mailing Address:
1416 9th Street, Suite 1266
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 322-2493 • Email BDB


Metadata Guidelines

Metadata is information about data, describing the "who, what, where, when, why, and how." It's a very important component of any dataset as it describes the purpose, intended uses, limitations, assumptions, data collection methods and results, as well as data definitions and contact information.

The following documents detail the Departments minimum metadata requirements and provide help for creating metadata in ArcCatalog:

In general, the minimum metadata should include:

  1. A description of the data (Summary and Description)
  2. Definitions of the attributes and the attribute values
  3. Time period covered by the data
  4. Restrictions to access and/or use of the data (as determined by the contributor)
  5. Contact information for the organization(s) or individual(s) that developed the data
  6. Keywords that will enable users to search/find the data

Contributors using ArcGIS and comfortable creating metadata in that software can certainly do so.

Sections in the Description of the metadata (i.e., Summary, Description) should be comparable in style and format to an abstract in a scientific journal article. The contributor is responsible for providing complete and accurate biological metadata, including definitions for each attribute in the data table. Attribute definitions should describe the contents in each field and, if appropriate, the codes used to abbreviate the data entry.

Metadata must be provided with each contributed dataset. If you have questions about metadata, please contact the

Contact the BIOS Staff — if you have any questions.