Directory Interchange Format

Directory Interchange Format



The Directory Interchange Format (DIF) is an early metadata initiative from the Earth sciences community, intended for the description of scientific data sets. It includes elements focusing on instruments that capture data, temporal and spatial characteristics of the data, and projects with which the dataset is associated. It is defined as a W3C XML Schema. Sponsored by the Global Change Master Directory, the DIF Writer’s Guide Version 6 is from November 2010. Use Cases: (A) BODC – British Oceanographic Data Centre Published Data Library – This national facility for looking after and distributing data concerning the marine environment requires that data sets use a well-documented format such as CF-compliant NetCDF and be accompanied by a Dublin Core record as well as discovery metadata in a recognised standard such as DIF or FGDC/CDGM; (B) CEOS International Directory Network – An international effort headed by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites developed to assist users in locating Earth science data sets, data services, and visualizations using DIF metadata; (C) GFZ Information System and Data Centre – A case study describing DIF metadata use in the German Research Centre for Geoscience; (D) Global Change Master Directory – The GCMD uses DIF metadata to promote the discovery, access, and use of Earth science data and data-related services worldwide, particularly focusing on NASA data; (E) NASA EOSDIS – The Earth Observing System Data and Information System – EOSDIS provides online FTP access to thousands of Earth system science data products described with DIF metadata; (F) UK Polar Data Centre – An organisation coordinating the management of data collected by UK-funded scientists in the polar regions.


Belem statement areas
Climate Variability
Emerging Pollutants
Ocean Observation
Ocean Resources
Ocean Technology
Polar Research
Time frame
n/a - Ongoing