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Formal metadata: information and software

Announcement: dbfmeta

Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 16:05:14 -0500
Subject: mp-users: new tool for dbf files


I just wrote up version 1 of a small utility called DBFmeta.
This tool is designed to take a DBF file and generate from it
a snippet headed by Detailed_Description that you can paste
into metadata using Tkme or by some other process.  The useful
things it does are

Set up structure for each attribute

Determine type of each attribute

For string variables, create Enumerated_Domain for each distinct
value, alphabetized.

For integer variables with fewer than about 20 distinct values,
creates an Enumerated_Domain for each distinct value, sorted.

For integer variables with more than about 20 distinct values,
creates a Range_Domain.  If the values include only one or two
negative values, those negative values are described separately
as Enumerated_Domain (for example, where -99 means "no data").

For double variables, creates a Range_Domain.  In this case it
doesn't do the trick with negative values, though.

Includes the ESRI extensions Attribute_Type, Attribute_Width, and
Attribute_Precision.  These can be left out using -strict.

In an interactive mode, asks you for the definitions of the
attributes, the units of the numbers, and the resolution of
double variables.  It doesn't ask about definitions of Enumerated
Domain Values because there are too many of them.  Use an editor
such as Tkme to add that information.

What it doesn't do is what it can't find out on its own: the
definitions of the attributes, their units, the meanings of
the Enumerated_Domain_Values, measurement resolution.

There's a new web page for this at

I have just included it in the current packages.

I invite you to give it a try.  Please let me know if you encounter
unexpected behavior.  Please let me know if I can provide additional
information or assistance.

Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 16:31:31 -0500
Subject: Re: mp-users: new tool for dbf files


I've already made some changes to dbfmeta based on input from
Hugh and from using it on some USGS data.  The changes include
at least one bug fix that you'll want if you were trying out
version 1.0.  So it's up to version 1.2 now, and I've rebuilt
the Windows packages to include it.  There's also a direct link
to the .exe file on the dbfmeta web page.

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