By assigning a metadata set to an archive you control which metadata fields users may edit in that archive (assuming they are allowed to edit metadata in the archive in question, of course) and which taxonomies they will have access to.
What's more, users who are allowed to upload files to the archive will be required to fill in metadata in accordance with the field requirements specified in the metadata set.
Assigning a metadata view to an archive
Open up the archive properties (Tools - Manage Archives) and click on Edit to open the archive's properties sheet. On the General page, pick a metadata view from the drop down list. Click OK to close the archive details page and store the changes.