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This was last updated: June 4th, 2021


LTER-core-metabase is a PostgreSQL-based relational database model designed for the management of ecological metadata. This metadata database model is based on usage patterns by sites in the U.S. Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. See Metabase history for more on the project's development history.

LTER-core-metabase is primarily used to produce and maintain Ecological Metadata Language (EML) documents. The MetaEgress R package is designed for use with LTER-core-metabase. Use MetaEgress to quickly and easily export EML documents from an installed and populated instance of LTER-core-metabase.

Although this release is ready for use, the database design team continues active development. We encorage anyone to give it a test drive, but please keep in contact with us for advice prior to installation for use in production. The master branch contains installation files for first-time users, while the migration branch contains incremental update patches. Check back periodically for update patches on the migration branch after installation.


Quick visualization of schema.

  • Good for metadata management in LTER sites
    • Designed for earth, environmental, and ecological sciences metadata
    • Reuse information across datasets and projects
    • Database constraints for more compliant and better quality metadata
  • Companion R package MetaEgress to create EML docs quickly and easily
  • Supports EML 2.1, (coming) support for EML 2.2

Known limitations

  • LTER-core-metabase design records revision history to the dataset. However, it is only designed to describe the most recent version of the dataset. In other words, updating metadata means overwriting rows, not adding them.

  • LTER-core-metabase can store geographic information in rectangles or points, but not polygons of arbitrary shape. If required, you can archive a shapefile or other geospatial dataset as an otherEntity alongside the other data entities in the data package.



See the docs folder for a complete list of docs.

A separate project called EML2MB takes a collection of pre-existing EML documents, reads the contents from xml and writes in database bulk upload format (similar to a csv). This is for Metabase users who already have many datasets described in EML and want to initially populate a new installatin of Metabase. (This was done in 2013 by SBC and MCR LTER and is being adapted to lter-core-metabase.) When the EML2MB git repo is ready for release, the link will appear here, planned for fall 2019.

For contributors

See the contributing guide.