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MetadataReference Class

Represents a reference to a metadata document returned from a metadata exchange endpoint.

Namespace:  System.ServiceModel.Description
Assembly:  System.ServiceModel (in System.ServiceModel.dll)

public class MetadataReference : IXmlSerializable

When using Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), a metadata endpoint can be created for any service. The endpoint can be queried for metadata that allows a client to communicate with the endpoint. For example, a metadata endpoint can return a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) document that describes the methods and data types of a service.

The MetadataReference class is used with WS-MetadataExchange responses where references are directly encoded as <mex:MetadataReference> or <mex:MetadataLocation>.

Metadata documents can reference many other documents that describe types and those documents can contain even more references. The MetadataReference class represents a single endpoint that returns a document that can itself contain multiple WSDL or XSD items as well as other metadata references to other WS-MetadataExchange endpoints.

Instances of the MetadataReference class are commonly used when processing a MetadataSet, which represents the total metadata exchange point. The MetadataResolver class is designed to resolve all references used to return the metadata. If, however, you need to examine each reference, use the MetadataReference class to represent each endpoint.


WCF implements the Web Services Metadata Exchange (WS-MetadataExchange) specification for returning metadata. That specification further uses the Web Services Transfer (WS-Transfer) specification to define the mechanism for retrieving XML-based data.


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0