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JSON Format

JSON format

OGM metadata is formatted as flat JSON files.

Terms to know

Key:value pairs

  • the key is either a metadata field name or an external reference URI
  • the value is the string, array, boolean, integer, etc. that goes in the field
  • strings are surrounded by ‘single’ or “double” quotation marks
"dct_identifier_sm": ""


  • consist of key:value pairs inside {curly brackets}
  • brackets are often put on a separate line to aid in readability
  "geoblacklight_version": "1.0",
  "dc_identifier_s": ""


  • ordered collections of items
  • surrounded by [square brackets]
  • used for fields that can have multiple values, such as dct_subject_sm or multiple download links within the dct_references_s element.
  "dct_subject_sm": [
    "Continental margins",
    "Multibeam mapping",
    "Imagery and Base Maps",
    "Inland Waters"

Escaped characters

  • certain characters are reserved for the JSON format, including double quotations "
  • if these characters are present in a string, they must be preceded by a backslash \ in order for the JSON to function properly
  • double quotations " within strings must be escaped with a backslash \
  "dct_references_s": "{\"\":\"\",\"\":\"\"}"

“Stringified JSON”

  • the dct_references_s field in the GeoBlacklight JSON is sometimes referred to as “stringified JSON”; it looks like an object, but it is actually a string
  • the backslash \ in the example above is an indication that this value is stringified JSON


This is an example of a complete OGM Aardvark JSON file. Note that it contains a custom (local) field, b1g_code_s, which is documented on the BTAA Geospatial Information Network Metadata handbook at

  "dct_title_s": "Racial Covenants [Hennepin County, Minnesota] (1910-1955)",
  "dct_alternative_sm": [
    "Racial Covenants in Hennepin County"
  "dct_description_sm": [
    "This data was compiled by the Mapping Prejudice Project and shows the location of racial covenants recorded in Hennepin County between 1910 and 1955. Racial covenants were legal clauses embedded in property records that restricted ownership and occupancy of land parcels based on race. These covenants dramatically reshaped the demographic landscape of Hennepin County in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1948, the United States Supreme Court ruled racial covenants to be legally unenforceable in the Shelly v. Kraemer decision. Racial covenants continued to be inserted into property records, however, prompting the Minnesota state legislature to outlaw the recording of new racial covenants in 1953. The same legislative body made covenants illegal in 1962. The practice was formally ended nationally with the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968."
  "dct_language_sm": [
  "dct_creator_sm": [
    "Ehrman-Solberg, Kevin",
    "Petersen, Penny",
    "Mills, Marguerite",
    "Delegard, Kirsten",
    "Mattke, Ryan"
  "dct_publisher_sm": [
    "University of Minnesota Mapping Prejudice Project"
  "schema_provider_s": "University of Minnesota",
  "gbl_resourceClass_sm": [
    "Web services"
  "gbl_resourceType_sm": [
    "Polygon data",
    "Vector data"
  "dcat_theme_sm": [
  "dcat_keyword_sm": [
    "racial covenants",
    "real estate"
  "dct_temporal_sm": [
  "dct_issued_s": "2020-12",
  "gbl_indexYear_im": [
  "gbl_dateRange_drsim": [
    "[1910 TO 1955]"
  "dct_spatial_sm": [
    "Bloomington, Minnesota",
    "Brooklyn Center, Minnesota",
    "Brooklyn Park, Minnesota",
    "Champlin, Minnesota",
    "Crystal, Minnesota",
    "Deephaven, Minnesota",
    "Eden Prairie, Minnesota",
    "Edina, Minnesota",
    "Golden Valley, Minnesota",
    "Greenwood, Minnesota",
    "Hopkins, Minnesota",
    "Maple Grove, Minnesota",
    "Maple Plain, Minnesota",
    "Medina, Minnesota",
    "Minneapolis, Minnesota",
    "Minnetonka, Minnesota",
    "Minnetonka Beach, Minnesota",
    "Minnetrista, Minnesota",
    "Mound, Minnesota",
    "Orono, Minnesota",
    "Osseo, Minnesota",
    "Plymouth, Minnesota",
    "Rays Lynnhurst, Minnesota",
    "Richfield, Minnesota",
    "Robbinsdale, Minnesota",
    "Shorewood, Minnesota",
    "St. Anthony, Minnesota",
    "St. Louis Park, Minnesota",
    "Tonka Bay, Minnesota",
    "Wayzata, Minnesota",
    "Woodland, Minnesota",
    "Hennepin County, Minnesota",
  "locn_geometry": "POLYGON((-93.77 45.24, -93.17 45.24, -93.17 44.78, -93.77 44.78, -93.77 45.24))",
  "dcat_bbox": "ENVELOPE(-93.77,-93.17,45.24,44.78)",
  "dcat_centroid": "45.01,-93.47",
  "pcdm_memberOf_sm": [
  "dct_isPartOf_sm": [
  "dct_rights_sm": [
    "Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor."
  "dct_license_sm": [
  "dct_accessRights_s": "Public",
  "dct_format_s": "Shapefile",
  "dct_references_s": "{\"\":\"\",\"\":\"\",\"urn:x-esri:serviceType:ArcGIS#FeatureLayer\":\"\",\"\":[{\"label\":\"covenants shapefile (4.554Mb)\",\"url\":\"\"},{\"label\":\"covenants CSV (9.925Mb)\",\"url\":\"\"}]}",
  "id": "0455d309-e4e9-473e-8c3f-b42a6a2e16fc",
  "dct_identifier_sm": [
  "gbl_mdModified_dt": "2022-09-14T20:18:27Z",
  "gbl_mdVersion_s": "Aardvark",
  "b1g_code_s": "05d-03"