Metadata Standards and Management Tools

Metadata management tools are often part of digital content management packages. Both types of programs are listed here. Most of the entries listed below were gathered via a survey of MLA members.  Thus, music-related tools are emphasized.

Compiled by Matthew Wise and Kimmy Szeto

Metadata Management Software

BWAV Writer / Lister / Reader

suite of applications for managing embedded BWAV metadata

BWF MetaEdit

performs embedding, validating, and exporting of metadata in Broadcast WAVE Format (BWF) files


command-line application for reading, writing, and editing metadata in a variety of file formats


windows-based MARC editing tool and converter

Metadata Manager (Informatica)

web-based repository designed for use in metadata management; provides the capability to capture data definitions


batch tool for editing, cover art, and import/export of embedded audio metadata

MusicBrainz Picard

music metadata management software – the “official MusicBrainz tagger”

Sonic Annotator

batch tool for feature extraction and annotation of audio files

Sonic Visualiser

application for inspecting and analyzing the contents of music audio files


An open-source web application to manage descriptive information for archives, manuscripts, and digital objects, building on features of Archon and Archivists Toolkit

Archivist’s Toolkit

The first open source archival data management system to provide broad, integrated support for the management of archives. Superseded in September 2013 by the ArchivesSpace application, though users may continue to use the software with support only from user communities.


Automatically publishes archival descriptive information and digital archival objects in a user-friendly website; development efforts merging with Archivist’s Tookit to form ArchivesSapce in September 2013.


digital collection management software offering storage and retrieval software for multimedia collections

Digital Commons

Open Access suite of tools and services that enables institutions to manage, display, and publish scholarship to the web (institutional repository software)


Open Source content management system


Open Archive Initiative (OAI)-compliant Open Source software released by MIT for archiving e-prints and other kinds of academic content


Open Source repository and retrieval engine for XML documents


Open Source digital repository software


suite of Open Source software for building and distributing digital library collections

Insight (LUNA)

used to build, manage and share digital collections of any size


media contents management software with strong metadata management support; an alternative to iTunes

SAMMAprep (Front Porch Digital)

modular, mobile accessioning station designed for use with archival masters of almost any media type

Database Software

MS Access

relational database software

MS Excel

spreadsheet software


Open Source database management system


object-relational database system; has features of traditional proprietary database systems with enhancements to be found in next-generation database management systems


customer-relationship management software

Music Notation


music notation software


designed to represent musical scores in common Western musical notation; has interchange format for notation, performance, analysis, and retrieval


music notation software


digital music library software that provides online access to streaming audio and scanned score images with a flexible access control framework to ensure respect for intellectual property

Text Editors

NoteTab Pro

text and HTML editor; there is also a “light” version for free


XML editor


XML-based software for structured authoring and content collaboration



Python web framework


software stack that enables the creation, retrieval, updating, and deletion of digital content through a user-friendly repository interface that can be adapted and extended to deal with multiple content types


workflow management system for digital objects;  provides a complete metadata creation system for analog and digital materials with services to ingest objects and metadata into a Fedora repository and to export these objects and metadata, individually and in bulk, in a METS/XML wrapper


computer programming language designed for multi-tasking and real-time programming


server-side scripting language designed for web development


interpreted, interactive, object-oriented, extensible programming language; there is also pymarc for analyzing and editing MARC records


Open Source digital repository based on the Apache Lucene Java search library

XTF (eXtensible Text Framework)

powerful Open Source platform for providing access to digital content

Mobile Apps


AudioTagger Pro

manages audio metadata in batch or individually; supports a variety of audio file formats