About metadata and data standards

Metadata is information about how data are defined, structured and represented. It can provide meaning and context to data by describing how data is captured and the business rules for collecting data. It can also assist in the interpretation of data.

Metadata endorsed for use within an organisation or across Australia are referred to as data standards.

Metadata Online Registry

The Metadata Online Registry (METeOR) is Australia’s repository for national data standards in the health, community services, housing assistance, homelessness and early childhood sectors. METeOR is administered by the AIHW.

AIHW commits to developing a replacement METeOR system

The AIHW is in the process of developing a new METEOR Metadata online register to replace the existing METeOR system.

The replacement Metadata online register will be developed in-house, building and improving on the existing system features and functionality. Using Microsoft Azure cloud-based technologies, the system will be built upon modern technology providing an improved user experience including a modern user interface and enhanced features such as:

  • Search capability
  • Spellcheck functionality
  • Compare/Contrast functionality

Development status (at 1 May 2021)

Development of the new METEOR Metadata online register is scheduled to be completed in late 2021. The new METEOR system is being developed using Microsoft Azure technologies, incorporating the existing indicator and data framework, which is robust, suitable and allows for further refinement.

The new METEOR Metadata Online Registry will continue to offer the benefit of a disciplined approach to the development, storage and management of metadata. It will provide a stable, reliable and well-supported technology platform that is compliant with information modelling (e.g. ISO/IEC 11179) and data exchange standards.

Currently, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is developing the capability for users to log-in, search, display and edit metadata items. The chosen system design provides flexibility allowing future interoperability enhancements, maintaining the system as the leading metadata repository into the future.

In addition to the new system, a new Operating Model and a support framework is being explored to ensure that the technology, its metadata, people and processes are properly supported going forward. This will ensure that business processes for the whole metadata lifecycle for the health and welfare sectors are enabled and supported.

As the project progresses, further information will be available to stakeholders through the AIHW website and your key AIHW contacts.


The AIHW offers training in metadata concepts and development. Various forms of METeOR training can be tailored to meet organisational needs (for example, general user training, data developer and registrar).

Existing users have ongoing access to METeOR’s on-line tutorials for additional support.

Registration authority

Registration authorities are responsible for endorsing data standards for different sectors. These are publically available for use in a range of settings.

There are national and non-national registration authorities. National registration authorities are able to endorse national data standards. Non-national registration authorities support organisational specific metadata development work (for example, state or territory health department work).

When the AIHW agrees to establish a registration authority in METeOR, the service includes:

  • workgroups for data development activities
  • METeOR logins for nominated personnel, enabling viewer or developer access to authorised workgroups
  • METeOR user, developer and registrar training
  • a customised registration authority page in METeOR.

Metadata review

Metadata should be reviewed for quality assurance before it is endorsed as a standard by a registration authority.

The AIHW also offers a metadata support service for metadata developed or revised by a registration authority. For example, the AIHW offers a review service that ensures metadata is constructed correctly, is reusable and accurately describes the underlying data.

Contact us

For more information about AIHW’s metadata services, contact the AIHW Metadata and METeOR Unit:

Email [email protected]

Phone +61 2 6244 1222