I am trying to find a way to create metadata through Arc Catalog for multiple datasets simultaneously. I'm working within a file geodatabase, which composes of multiple feature classes and rasters. The data has common theme so I'd like to create template of metadata for one item and then populate other datasets within the same metadata information. I'm planning to use ISO standard metadata template.

I've done some research and it appears that there are three options (but neither of them too successful so far): - use 'Metadata Importer' tool within Conversion Toolbox (however I will be able to copy metadata on one-to-one basis only) - X-tools pro have 'Batch Metadata Editing' option available but after setting the parameters within ArcMap I can't see these canges through Arc Catalog - third option is adding 'Batch Importer' (http://edndoc.esri.com/arcobjects/9.0/Samples/Metadata/Importers/Batch_Importer/Batch_Importer.htm). I managed to add it to ArcCatalog but I'm not able to run it (I get error message 'ICommand_OnClick() ).

I'm working with ArcGIS 10.

  • I tried to do the steps as oliver said and it's Makes sense, but I don't know what to to with the iso, Because he said (the system Of course...) "dataset arcgis to iso 19139 does not exist or not supported" I tried the all option but it's doen't work. I work with arcinfo 10.0/sp5 pleas emaling me: avixr@nana10.co.il
    – user21092
    Aug 15, 2013 at 14:56

3 Answers 3


I just created metadata simultaneously for some rasters. They were in a file workspace as opposed to a geodatabase workspace so I'm not sure if that will be an issue. If I understand correctly you are trying to create generic metadata for multiple files. Here's what I did:

Open arcCatalog and update the metadata for one of the files

Be generic so the text will apply to all files

Export the metadata into the same folder. (I have the ISO 19139 metadata implementation specification selected in my arcCatalog options).

The file will be exported as an .xml file.

Open the following tool: Conversion Tools>Metadata>Import Metadata... open it with a right click and choose "batch" (it's the one with the model builder symbol next to it)

Now you can add your exported metadata .xml file as the source and navigate to all the files to apply to as the target.

Granted it's a bit awkward to do this for large datasets (navigating to each file for example) but as this is a model you could easily modify it to work as a tool instead. Choose the recursive option and it will add all files within a folder to have the metadata attached. In fact, I might do that now and post it here.


I've created a tool that serves my purpose of just updating the DESCRIPTION section of a file. If you would like to use it please let me know. It's got quirks but it runs.

  • I've ended up using 'Import Metadata' in batch mode. @Oliver - yes - I'd be very interested to see this tool!
    – Magda
    Sep 24, 2013 at 19:52
  • @Magda you can email me at info@burdgis.com It would be good to test this model on someone else data. Sep 24, 2013 at 19:57
  • Hallo @Oliver, I would like to use your tool. Then I do not need to try it again by myself. Thanks :-) Dec 20, 2016 at 13:43
  • Hi @ShiuliPervin Please send me an email at info@burdgis.com with a sample of your data and your exact requirements. Please include your version of ArcGIS. Thanks. Dec 25, 2016 at 12:19

Sorry to say your not going to find a quick way to do it as of SP2; primarily because Metadata is badly broken @ ArcGIS 10. I really would not expect that sample code you see to work cleanly, I suspect it might even damage the metadata. Your real only option is going to be to do it manually.

We undertook a major metadata update project over the last 2 months and because of the issues in ArcGIS 10 we had to perform it manually; layer by layer.

I wish there was better news for you; I wish you luck.

  • Thanks for your answer. Fortunately, the dataset I'm working on is not too extensive so I can do it manually within few hours. But question arises when the dataset is large. Something for Esri to think about..
    – Magda
    Jul 27, 2011 at 8:14
  • I understand, or what about the ability to set certain global options to a batch of files, say updates to contact information, or your disclaimers. That kind of thing is something that would help so many users.
    – D.E.Wright
    Jul 30, 2011 at 3:42
  • I think I've cracked it with a few modifications to the existing tools. Let me know if you're interested Sep 24, 2013 at 18:30
  • @Magda Have you tried the tool yet? Oct 19, 2013 at 18:02

Yes, I made this little script that I run from Jupyter notebook. Just change as required the variables metadatain, and metawriter. It will recursively add metadata to all the files with an extension (for instance shp) inside a directory.

import os
import xml.etree.ElementTree as ET
metadatain = ET.parse(r'ADDRESS\TO\METADATA.xml')
root = metadatain.getroot()

def metawriter(folder_path, extension):
    for path, subdirs, files in os.walk(folder_path):
        for name in files:
            file_extension = os.path.splitext(name)[-1]
            if(extension in file_extension):
            #if(file_extension.lower() in name.lower()):
                file_path = os.path.join(path,name)
                file_name = os.path.splitext(file_path)[0]
                metafile = file_name + extension + ".xml"


*Note the backslashes

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