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I'm new to QGIS, and am trying to figure out if there is a way to view metadata within QGIS 3.10.1.

I'm adding layers downloaded from various state and federal websites, and the shapefiles include a .xml file (ISO-8859-1) - when opened with Notepad, it includes all the info I am looking for (namely, what the attribute names mean). It seems like there should be a way to view it from within QGIS - I found the Metadata tab under Layer Properties but nothing is there. At the bottom is an option to "Load Metadata", but when I browse to the .xml file associated with the shapefile it is greyed out.

I can copy and paste text into the Metadata tab from the file I have open in Notepad, but that would take way too long!

Any suggestions?

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Not 100% on this but I think metadata is a work in progress, being approached from a number of angles.

If you have metadata to save, apparently it can be saved to a file which sits in the same directory as the data. As per this answer QGIS Default Metadata

If you are trying to read existing metadata from another system (your case) I presume QGIS is expecting to read a *.qmd file.

There is a plugin which apparently used to help some users, but apparently it no longer works with updated version of QGIS. https://github.com/nextgis/metatools/issues

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