YAMZ Metadictionary

What is YAMZ?

YAMZ (Yet Another Metadata Zoo) is a collective and collaborative vocabulary building system to support FAIR creation and use of professional jargon and metadata. YAMZ enables individuals to create and manage their own terms while communities of practice comment on and vote on terms.

YAMZ is not a standard. It is a collection of terms, the most popular of which should be easy to find by knowledge workers selecting terms to include in their ontologies and standards. Some terms are unchanging, and some are still evolving. Essentially, each YAMZ term is a nano-specification with a unique, persistent identifier to track the term from evolving to mature to deprecated. 

Current development is focusing on enhancing application features that integrate community member expertise to: 1) determine a canonical set of metadata terms and 2) analyze and improve the quality of related metadata. This notion builds on the ranking/feedback loop that underlies community-driven systems in computer-supported cooperative work. YAMZ is integrating with ORCiD to find new ways for authors to automatically receive recognition for their work and provide opt-in rich profile information to help inform search result rankings.

Getting Involved

If you are interested in research experience helping us enhance the open source YAMZ, please visit this page for more information on system design and the skills we’re looking for.

The current version of YAMZ is hosted by the Drexel College of Computing and Informatics at https://yamz.net. The code and issue list is on Github (https://github.com/metadata-research/yamz). There is a beta site usually accessible at yamz-dev.yamz.net.


YAMZ was first developed in 2013 via the NSF DataONE initiative. Since then it has had support from the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), and the Wilson Center, as well as the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) via NSF-U.S. RDA as part of the IMLS LEADING fellowship program

Publications | Presentations

Greenberg, J., McClellan, S., Rauch, C., Zhao, X., Kelly, M., An, Y., Kunze, J., Orenstein, R., Porter, C., Meschke, V. and Toberer, E., 2023. Building community consensus for scientific metadata with YAMZ. Data Intelligence5(1), pp.242-260. https://doi.org/10.1162/dint_a_00211

Duerr, R., Buttigieg, P.L., Berg-Cross, G., Blumberg, K.L., Wiegand, N. and Rose, K., 2023. Harmonizing GCW Cryosphere Vocabularies with ENVO and SWEET: Towards a General Model for Semantic Harmonization. https://eartharxiv.org/repository/view/5394/

Greenberg J, Wu M, Liu W, Liu F. Metadata as Data Intelligence. Data Intelligence. 2023 Mar 8;5(1):1-5. https://doi.org/10.1162/dint_e_00212

Rauch, C. B., Kelly, M., Kunze, J., & Greenberg, J. (2022). FAIR Metadata: A Community-Driven Vocabulary Application. In E. Garoufallou, M.-A. Ovalle-Perandones, & A. Vlachidis (Eds.), Metadata and Semantic Research (pp. 187–198). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98876-0_16

Koskela, R., Richard, S., Zaslavsky, I., Kelbert, A. and Duerr, R. (2022) Fostering Resource Integration: EarthCube Resource Registry. Authorea Preprints. https://doi.org/10.1002/essoar.10500455.1

Kelly, M., Rauch, C.B., Greenberg, J., Grabus, S., Boone, J., Kunze, J. and Logan, P.M. (2021) Advancing ARKs in the Historical Ontology Space. Code4Lib Journal, (50). https://journal.code4lib.org/articles/15608

Mcggibney, L.J., 2018. Semantic Web for Earth and Environmental Terminology (SWEET) 2018: status, future development and community building. [Google scholar]

Kunze, John, Scout Calvert, Jeremy D. DeBarry, Matthew Hanlon, Greg Janée, and Sandra Sweat. “Persistence statements: describing digital stickiness.” (2017). https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libraryscience/417/

Esteva M, Adair A, Kulasekaran SA, Coronel JB, Jansen C. A data model for lifecycle management of natural hazards engineering data. In International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications 2017 Dec 2 (pp. 73-74). https://dcpapers.dublincore.org/pubs/article/view/3869

Greenberg, J., Murillo, A., Kunze, J., Callaghan, S., Guralnick, R., Nassar, N., … & Patton, C. (2014, January). Metadictionary: advocating for a community-driven metadata vocabulary application. In DC-2013, Lisbon, Portugal. https://n2t.net/ark:/13960/s2zg7dwqz6t

Patton, C. (2014). Community-based scoring of metadictionary terms [PDF]. https://github.com/cjpatton/seaice/blob/master/doc/Scoring.pdf


Kunze, John. (2023) “The YAMZ Metadictionary”, Summer 2023 ESIP conference, July 20. slides

Kunze, John. (2023) “YAMZ.net: a crowdsourced metadata dictionary Metadictionary”, iPRES 2023 conference, September 19. slides