In my technical workshop about Spatial Data Infrastructures and Geoportals I typically do talk about metadata and the spectrum of metadata using this diagram:
Two seemingly separated worlds of metadata of brief descriptions focused on the end user vs verbose XML structures describing the content in detail. But they're actually not that different. Whether it's to ensure that people understand the content before they make (for example) building construction decisions or whether you want your item to be at the top of a search result, good metadata is key.
In our recent work we've been looking at how we can bridge that gap in between these views of metadata. One step in that direction is to enable editing standards-based metadata with the ArcGIS Online system.
Using the soon-to-be-published API we have connected the Geoportal Server metadata editor to ArcGIS Online to provide full FGDC/ISO/INSPIRE/GEMINI/ANZLIC/... metadata editing for the description of items.
With this integration enabled, owners of items will get a new tool when editing the item:
This will open the metadata editor for the specification of choice:
This integration is not limited to the ArcGIS Online technology. We're also working on enabling this for ArcGIS Server 10.1 services that will also support full XML-based metadata in addition to the descriptions you can already provide.
SO, it doesn't matter if you use ISO 1911x or tag-style metadata, just don't forget to follow Albert's advice: