AGLS logo


The National Archives of Australia is the maintenance agency for the Australian Government Locator Service (AGLS) metadata standard.

What is AGLS?

The AGLS metadata standard is a set of 19 descriptive elements which government departments and agencies can use to improve the visibility and accessibility of their services and information over the Internet.

The AGLS standard is based upon the leading international online resource discovery metadata standard, the Dublin Core standard. The AGLS standard was developed in late 1997/early 1998 in response to a recommendation in the report of the Information Management Steering Committee, The Management of Government Information as a National Strategic Resource.

While the National Archives is the lead agency for AGLS development and deployment, the initiative is a cooperative venture between the Commonwealth Office for Government Online and the Online Council Officials.

AGLS Manual for Users

The Australian Government Locator Service (AGLS) Manual for Users defines the semantics (meaning) of each of the 19 AGLS descriptive elements and provides advice on how AGLS metadata can be created and deployed.

The latest version of the manual is now available on this website in HTML format and a PDF version will also be added soon. The manual was first published in August 1998 and has since been updated to include suggestions and comments received on the first version.

AGLS Manual for Users (HTML)

AGLS Manual for Users (PDF)

AGLS maintenance agency

The National Archives of Australia will pursue the following activities in its role as AGLS maintenance agency:

  • convene a cross-jurisdictional AGLS Working Group to guide ongoing development and deployment of the standard;
  • manage improvements to the user manual;
  • promote the AGLS standard across Australian governments;
  • develop and maintain an AGLS website;
  • liaise with the international Dublin Core metadata community; and
  • register schemes and extensions to the AGLS standard.

The cross-jurisdictional AGLS Working Group held its first meeting on 4 February 1999 at the National Archives. The minutes are now available.

You can also look at the formal terms of reference of the AGLS Working Group.


AGLS logo

This logo was designed by the National Archives of Australia, as lead agency for implementation and development of the AGLS standard. Websites that display this logo use metadata that is compliant with the AGLS metadata standard. If you believe the metadata for your website complies with AGLS and you want to display the logo, you can request a logo by sending an email to Please specify whether you want a logo with only the AGLS initials or with the wording in full.

Useful links

The Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC Pty Ltd), a Brisbane-based Cooperative Research Centre, is a leading international centre for research into online resource discovery technologies.

DSTC has produced a number of metadata tools which assist in creating, deploying and exploiting AGLS and Dublin Core metadata. One such tool, Reggie, can be used to automatically generate AGLS metadata using an approved form of syntax.

The MetaWeb Project was a cooperative research project which involved the National Library of Australia, DSTC, the Australian Defence Force Academy and Charles Sturt University. This project established an Australian metadata email discussion list in addition to developing various tools for the extraction, generation and creation of metadata.

The Dublin Core is the leading international online resource discovery metadata standard.

The Monash University Records Continuum Research Group is coordinating a cooperative research project on the standardisation of recordkeeping metadata in Australia.

Further information

A summary of the origins and objectives of, and deployment options for, AGLS can be found in a paper by Adrian Cunningham, ‘The Australian Government Locator Service: Enabling Seamless Online Access to Government’.

The AGLS Implementation Plan also provides additional information on the development of the AGLS standard.

The Archives has recently completed a comparison (in Adobe Acrobat PDF format) of AGLS with the United States equivalent, known as GILS (Government Information Locator Service).

Any comments or enquiries about AGLS can be sent to