An Optional Step
By default, ArcGIS rewrites the metadata for a feature class every time you look at it. I recommend that you not let it do that. Not using the default puts the metadata under your control, so you determine when it is to be rewritten. The disadvantage is that you might forget to update metadata when something changes. So, the following step is optional but recommended.
From the ArcCatalog menu, select Customize > ArcCatalog Options. Pick the Metadata tab. See Figure 1-23
. Read the information provided on the tab. Change the Metadata Style to FGDC CSDGM Metadata. (If you do not see this option, check with your system manager as to whether the latest service pack is installed.) Then remove any check in the box that relates to automatically updating metadata when it is viewed. This prevents ArcGIS from automatically updating the Metadata each time you access it. However, it now puts the responsibility on you to update the Metadata when it is appropriate to do so. The box asking that you be shown a prompt for metadata upgrades should be checked. Click Apply, then OK.