Organizations associated with the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have collected a large volume of spatial data. Descriptions of these data sets, called metadata, are seen as an important component to facilitate their access (Shah & Sheth, 1998). Most organizations have utilized some form of local or international metadata standard. To represent the diversity of the available metadata standards, a generic metadata standard is used to identify the common features from a sample of three metadata standards. The three standards are: Australia New Zealand Land Information Committee (ANZLIC) metadata standard; Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM); and Dublin Core (DC) metadata standard. These standards are presented using hierarchical Directory Information Trees (DITs) associated with the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). LDAP DITs are accessed using the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) which is an approach of particular interest to the Open GIS Consortium (OGC) 1 (Buehler & McKee, 1998).