Metanorma: Aequitate Verum

Metadata and document attributes


Information about a document itself is called the "metadata" of the document. The document header is where metadata is entered. Metadata is specified by using document attributes.

Document attributes are used in the following ways:

  • provide semantic information for the document

  • modify visual appearance of output format

  • adjust the document generation process

You can specify metadata about:

  • Authors: Issuing organization, authors, and their location

  • Document information: Title, language, document stages (draft, published, etc.) copyright holder, etc.

  • Identifiers: Document numbers, ISBNs, URIs

  • Dates: Draft dates, revision dates, publishing date, copyright year, etc.

Some metadata influence how the document is generated and should only be used by advanced users. Often, they will require familiarity with the structures and processes of the flavor’s organization.

Some of the metadata is visible in the document, such as :title:, while others are not visible but still affect how your document is generated.

A document attribute looks like this:

:title: My document

Document attributes are used as simple flags like on/off switches, which do not take a value, while others accept one or more values.

The order of document attributes generally does not matter to Metanorma, except that a document attribute with the same key can be overwritten by a subsequent definition of the same attribute below the original definition.
Example 1. Example metadata for an ISO deliverable
= Rice model (1)
:docnumber: 17301 (2)
:doctype: international-standard (3)
:copyright-year: 2021
:language: en
:mn-document-class: iso (4)
:technical-committee: Food products (5)
:draft: (6)
:mn-output-extensions: xml,html,doc,html_alt (7)
  1. Document title

  2. :docnumber: is the first document attribute, and it has the value 17301

  3. :doctype: defines the type of document, for example international-standard, technical-report, guide, etc. The allowed values for this attribute are specific to each flavor.

  4. :mn-document-class: indicates the Metanorma flavor the document should be checked against.

  5. The committee responsible for the document.

  6. :draft: renders comments as well. The attribute does not take any values: it is either present or not.

  7. mn-output-extensions specifies the generated output formats. It can take several comma-delimited values.

Which attributes to specify?

The attributes required or allowed to be specified for given document depend on the type of document and the Metanorma flavor used.

See generic attribute reference for attributes supported by most Metanorma flavors.

When using one of the officially supported Metanorma flavors, please consult your flavor’s author documentation.

Re-using attributes in text

The body of the document can reference the values of document attributes. Here’s an example of referencing committee-related metadata entries:

:technical-committee-number: 184
:technical-committee: Automation systems and integration
:subcommittee-number: 4
:subcommittee: Industrial data

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC
{technical-committee-number}, _{technical-committee}_, Subcommittee SC
{subcommittee-number}, _{subcommittee}_.

If the corresponding document attributes are not populated in the header, then the references themselves will not be populated.

Dealing with Unicode characters

Document attribute values that contain Unicode characters must be entered directly as Unicode.

Any non-ASCII characters in document attribute values, or dashes for compound titles, will need to be entered as Unicode.

If you need to have non-ASCII characters in document title, or dashes for compound titles, you will need to enter them directly as Unicode.

Document attribute values, unlike document text, cannot deal with HTML entities.

As an example, this would work:

:title-part-en: Information Technology—Security
:title-main-fr: Spécification et méthodes d'essai

Entering them as HTML Entities or XML Entities would not:

:title-part-en: Information Technology\—Security
:title-main-fr: Sp\écification et m\éthodes d'essai