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Cabinet Office circular

CO (02) 3: Use of New Zealand Government Locator Service (NZGLS) Metadata Standard

Issue date: 
Friday, 8 March 2002
Issue status: 
Version note: 

Intended for:

  • All Ministers
  • All Chief Executives
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Clerk of the House of Representatives
  • General Manager, Parliamentary Service
  • Controller and Auditor-General
  • Chief Parliamentary Counsel

Summary of Key Points

  • Cabinet has agreed that the New Zealand Government Locator Service (NZGLS) Metadata Standard will be the official New Zealand Government standard for creating discovery level metadata.
  • The NZGLS standard provides a standardised way of cataloguing information and/or services of government organisations such that they can be easily found using appropriate search tools and techniques, especially via the Internet.
  • Cabinet's intention is that the standard should be used by all organisations in the public sector that are either required or choose to make their information and services accessible through the all-of-government web portal ('the Portal' - that will be in service from July 2002 onwards.


1To make it easier for people to gain online access to government information and services, Cabinet has agreed to a number of measures related to use of the New Zealand Government Locator Service (NZGLS) Metadata Standard [CAB Min (01) 38/2B]. This circular sets out the main features of Cabinet's decisions, the major purpose behind them, the way in which they apply to public sector organisations, and the sources of additional information available to those organisations. This circular should be read in conjunction with the NZGLS Metadata Standard and Reference Manual (

Key points of Cabinet's decisions

2Key points of Cabinet's decisions include:

  • the NZGLS Metadata Standard will be the official New Zealand Government standard for creating discovery level metadata in the public sector;
  • the Public Service, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, and the Government Communications Security Bureau are to become NZGLS 'compliant' (as specified in paragraph A.11.1 of the NZGLS Metadata Standard) from 30 June 2002 onwards;
  • the wider State sector is to be encouraged to achieve NZGLS compliance on the same basis as the Public Service; and
  • local authorities are invited to achieve NZGLS compliance on this basis.

3Cabinet agreed that the State Services Commission would be the 'steward' of the NZGLS Standard, and that Archives New Zealand would act as its custodian.

Purpose of the NZGLS Metadata Standard

4The NZGLS Metadata Standard is a key part of the e-government programme. It introduces a means of cataloguing government information and services using a common set of terms, or 'metadata elements'. Its function is analogous to the function of a library catalogue.

5The principal benefit of the NZGLS is that, in combination with Internet search engines capable of using NZGLS metadata, it makes government information and services much easier to find than was previously possible. This in turn will reduce the cost of dealing with government for people and business.

Function of NZGLS, and key requirements on agencies

6When a government agency creates a metadata record using the NZGLS Standard it will be made available to an all-of-government electronic repository of NZGLS metadata records that is part of the technology infrastructure of the Portal.

7The records held in the repository will, in turn, be accessed by the search engine of the Portal, which means that the amount of government information and services accessible via the portal will be entirely dependant upon the ongoing efforts agencies across the public sector make to create NZGLS compliant metadata records.

8The requirements that Cabinet's decisions impose on agencies vary according to whether they are part of the Public Service, the wider State sector, or local government. In the case of the Public Service (and other organisations specified in CAB Min (01) 38/2B), Cabinet has directed that they become NZGLS compliant (as specified in Section A:10 of the NZGLS Metadata Standard) from 30 June 2002 onwards. Wider State sector and local government organisations are respectively encouraged and invited to achieve NZGLS compliance, and thereby ensure that they are accessible via the Portal.

9Any government organisation that is either required or wishes to make its information and services accessible via the Portal can only do so through provision of NZGLS compliant metadata records to the metadata repository. Because the content of the Portal will be dependant on the metadata records contained in the metadata repository at any given time, use of the NZGLS by agencies will be easily observable.

Maintenance of the NZGLS

10The State Services Commission (SSC) has been given stewardship responsibility for the ongoing maintenance of the NZGLS as part of the core infrastructure of e-government. The SSC has, in turn, placed day-to-day responsibility for the NZGLS Standard in the custodianship of Archives New Zealand (the National Library will act as custodian for the thesauri that are part of the Standard). The SSC will retain direct responsibility for operation of the metadata repository.

11Agencies will be able to offer feedback on the standard as it is used. The standard will be revised when this is judged appropriate by both the SSC as the steward, and Archives New Zealand, as the Custodian.

Further Information

12For further information on the NZGLS Metadata Standard and associated requirements please contact:

Jan Rivers,
E-govt Unit, State Services Commission

John Roberts,
Archives New Zealand

Tracey Powell
National Library

Marie Shroff
Secretary of the Cabinet

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 14 December 2011

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