Metadata Collections & QA

Writing vocabulary definitions


  • Don't write a negative definition (e.g. this does not include, this does not mean)
  • The term and the definition should be interchangeable in a sentence
  • Avoid circular definitions (e.g. evergreen tree - tree with evergreen foliage)
  • Don't be too broad or too narrow
  • Use only one sentence
  • Be aware of broader terms
  • Terms should be nouns (person place or thing) and should be described as nouns
  • When appropriate, attribution should be given
  • Use words appropriate to the intended audience level (e.g. 'lifted condensation level' as a scientific term and 'cloud level' as a more generic term)
  • If the audience range is large, use more generic words rather than specialized ones

From the Open Forum on Metadata Registries, January 2003.


Last updated: 7-28-03