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Can metadata be imported in HTML format?
No. There is no way to import metadata that exists in HTML format.
HTML files are intended for a human audience. It might be easier to understand why if you think of the results that you see in a browser as a picture. If you look at a metadata HTML file in a text editor rather than a browser, you can see that it is extremely difficult from a software program's perspective to tell what text represents a metadata element, what text represents the element's value, and what text is HTML code.
However, if the HTML file presents FGDC metadata in outline format, it can be converted to a well-formatted text file that can be imported using ArcCatalog.
Alternatively, you might contact the organization that supplied the metadata to see if they can provide it to you in a format such as XML that can be imported with ArcCatalog.