Machine-readable Metadata Modeling Specification (M3) Working Group

Scope & Objectives

There have been a number of projects, discussions, and brainstorming around better ways to define, document, and use metadata models.  This working group will develop a draft specification for a machine-readable format for metadata modeling, which can be used to generate human/user-facing documentation, batch data entry templates, and define system functionality (and maybe more!)

Potential benefits include:

  • Automating creation and maintenance of in-sync, up-to-date human-readable documentation and batch data entry templates

  • Enable development of code/gems/microservices which are not tied to specific institutional metadata models and are thus easier to reuse

  • Facilitate sharing and reuse of metadata models

  • Support formal releases and versioning of metadata models

  • Enable development of more flexible infrastructure through abstraction of metadata

  • With supporting infrastructure, simplify the process for adding new metadata elements or changing metadata based configuration settings, reducing work required and opportunities for errors

Work on an initial draft specification is in the Houndstooth repository and is based on Scooby Snacks and Dog Biscuits

Other related community work:

Deliverables & Timeframe


  1. Develop a data dictionary for meta-metadata properties to enable documentation generation and code configuration.

  2. Define format agnostic structure and syntax requirements.

  3. Identify candidate serializations and file formats (yml, csv, json, etc.) and any specific format requirements.

  4. Create example data dictionaries using the specification.

  5. Identify future work opportunities.


Work will run for approximately two to three months, starting in early 2019.

Final Report

Meeting Times & Communication Channels

Weekly meeting - Updated meeting time - starting June 5, 2019


This working group needs both developers and metadata experts!  

Note that Working Groups must have participants from three different Partners.  All members of a working group producing software must be licensed Samvera contributors covered by the appropriate CLAs. Other types of contributions such as requirements, design, best practices, documentation, etc. - do not require CLAs but participants should accept that the materials to which they contribute may be released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License..


Meeting Notes

  • list of links
  • or table of meeting notes