Conventions and Definitions


This document is intended for data managers. It assumes that readers are familiar with

  • the basic structure of an XML document, and the ability to edit in an XML editor like OxygenXML or XMLSpy.
  • the process for contributing data to a repository. If you reached this document from a repository’s help-page, contact them for more information.

Fonts and typeface

Numbered examples of EML nodes are in fixed-width font:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

XML element and attribute names, XPath and references to element names in text are in bold face. Single element names are surrounded by angle brackets, as they appear in XML.


Some recommendations have special context, e.g., an XML element or attribute may be requested by a community (e.g., LTER), or required by the EDI repository (but not by other repositories).

Context notes: Recommendations for EML usage in a specific context are called “context notes,” and are placed in separate paragraphs, in italic.


EML preparer
the person responsible for “building” the EML metadata record. Generally, this is a data manager working with a project or physical site that produces data.
the research project contributing the data package, e.g., an LTER or OBFS site, or a Macrosystems project. Generally, the “EML preparer” works with or for the “Contributor.”
Data package
the EML metadata together with its entity or entities. This is generally the unit housed in repositories. We use this term to avoid confusion with the EML element “dataset.”

Other EML Resources

Some sections refer to further information or tools. These can be found on the EDI website, under “Resources,” at