I'm using the ISO 19115/19139 metadata standard, and I need to convert some optional elements into mandatory elements. Is it possible to achieve this using ArcCatalog as the metadata editor?

About metadata standards and profiles says "A profile may further restrict the optionality of a metadata element, making it mandatory where before it was optional."

In ArcCatalog I can set ISO 19139 as the metadata standard:

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but how can I edit my instance of ISO 19139 (to make a custom profile) so that (for example) lineage is mandatory instead of optional?

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Under ArcGIS\Desktop10.4\Metadata\Translator\Rules there is a file ISO19139_min_schema.txt.

Can I edit this file, and if so what is the syntax for making lineage mandatory?

  • I believe that behind the scenes the Metadata standards are XML stylesheets (or something similar) - these might be editable with XML tags to say mandatory.
    – Midavalo
    Jun 21, 2016 at 2:09
  • @Midavalo that sounds about right. The big question is, where are the files located, and what is the syntax for making something mandatory? Metadata\Stylesheets\ArcGIS_Imports\ISO19139.xslt doesn't seem to list this, and I'm unsure how to edit the aforementioned ISO19139_min_schema.txt file Jun 21, 2016 at 2:17
  • I found a folder with .cfg files but these don't appear to have a flag for mandatory or optional either.
    – Midavalo
    Jun 21, 2016 at 2:24
  • @Midavalo I think the min_schema.txt file looks most promising as "this schema contains the rules for presence of the minimum mandatory and conditional elements". But I haven't figured out the syntax yet for adding Lineage as a mandatory element Jun 21, 2016 at 2:33
  • I think it unlikely to be something in an XSL stylesheet that would enforce this restriction, I would look for a DTD or XML schema (or schematron)
    – nmtoken
    Sep 8, 2016 at 19:45

2 Answers 2


The length of time that this ArcGIS Desktop question has remained unanswered suggests to me that it may only be possible using functionality in or targeted for ArcGIS Pro.

I notice that Mid-term aims of the ArcGIS Pro Roadmap includes:

Metadata Enhancements – Support majority of metadata functionality

To ensure that what you seek makes it into ArcGIS Pro, if not into the ArcGIS Desktop 10.x architecture, I recommend posting an ArcGIS Idea and linking to it here so that it may attract the necessary support.

  • Thanks for the tip. The urgency for this request has passed, so I don't think I'll bother with the ArcGIS Ideas page. I've wasted far too much time there in the past ;) Sep 21, 2017 at 0:36

Use ArcGIS Metadata toolkit https://support.esri.com/en/download/7511

It documents how to create and share custom metadata styles based on the ArcGIS metadata editor provided with ArcGIS for Desktop in the ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcGlobe applications. Customizations that change how you view and export metadata, validate metadata using an XML schema, and reduce the number of pages available in the ArcGIS metadata editor require no programming.

download this and unzip it and there you will find a pdf "ArcGIS 10.5.x Metadata Toolkit"

Inside that pdf see the section "Creating a custom metadata XSLT stylesheet for display" and "Customizing the validation rules for a page"

There you can have the option to change the way how ArcGIS metadata editor treats a standard and you can

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