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What are AGRICOLA’s metadata requirements?

All metadata must be well-formed and validated against an XML schema or DTD (Document Type Definition).

The purpose of a DTD or XML Schema is to define the building blocks of an XML document with a list of elements and attributes.

Well formed XML has all metadata tags opened and closed in the proper order and has a DTD or XML schema declaration at the top of the record, with the proper attributes.

How do I send approved metadata to NAL?

Metadata files are sent to NAL using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

FTP is a standard Internet protocol for transmitting files between computers on the Internet. Like the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which transfers displayable Web pages and related files, and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which transfers e-mail, FTP is an application protocol that uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocols. FTP is commonly used to transfer files from your computer to other servers.

How should MODS records be formatted?

The following elements are required on all MODS records:

See links to template and sample records below.


An XML schema describes the structure of an XML record.  XML schemas support data types, which allow for ease of defining, converting and validating data.  A reference to an XML schema must appear at the
beginning of a set of records, or on each record if a file contains only
one record. Records without a schema declaration will be rejected.

MODS schema:

What are the XML Schema or DTD declarations for each format?

A schema or DTD (Document Type Definition) describes the structure of an XML record as well as the relationship of the elements to the application. It must appear at the beginning of the first record of a file of records, or at the beginning of each record if a file contains only one record. Records without a schema or DTD will be rejected.

Below are the schema and DTDs for the three metadata formats that can be employed on AGRICOLA metadata records.  

What is metadata?

In terms of AGRICOLA, metadata is structured data that contains basic citation information about each article (e.g. author(s), article title, abstract, journal title, volume/issue number and date). The structured nature of metadata allows it to be  ingested, processed and displayed in AGRICOLA in a consistent manner.


The Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) is a leader in online global nutrition information. Located at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) of the United States Department of Agriculture, the FNIC website contains over 2500 links to current and reliable nutrition information.

The Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 (Farm Bill) established the Food and Nutrition Information and Education Resources Center (later known as the Food and Nutrition Information Center, or FNIC) as a permanent entity within NAL. (see p.26 of PDF).

FNIC strives to serve the professional community (including educators, health professionals and researchers) by providing access to a wide range of trustworthy food and nutrition resources from both government and non-government sources. The FNIC website provides information about food and human nutrition. The materials found on this website are not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed health professional.

To learn more about FNIC's content and linking policy, please review the webmaster section of the Frequently Asked Questions.  

The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this website (or in website pages) is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by USDA or the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. Likewise, some databases available on the FNIC website include resources from "non-government entities." Inclusion of these materials in a database does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by FNIC or the U.S. Government.

If you have a question related to food and nutrition please use the Ask a Question form. For questions about the FNIC website email:

In person: FNIC Specialists can assist you Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland.

By phone: Call (301) 504-5414 to talk to an Information Specialist

By mail:

Food and Nutrition Information Center

USDA ARS National Agricultural Library

10301 Baltimore Avenue,

Beltsville, MD 20705-2351

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