Please note that all references and content information can only be considered current as of May 2003. It is your responsibility to verify the materials and update them as necessary.
Resources are divided into the following topics:
- Recordkeeping, Archives, and Libraries: General Information
- Business and Other: General Information
- Selected Metadata Standards
- Other Selected Standards
- Geographic Information Systems
- Selected Projects
Introduction to Metadata: Pathways to Digital Information
This online publication is the work of the Getty Standards Program of the Getty Research Institute. Several authors contributed to the work which covers such topics as definitions of metadata, metadata and the World Wide Web, metadata mapping and interoperability, and crosswalks of metadata standards. A glossary and a list of acronym definitions are included.
This publication is a "revision and expansion" of an earlier NISO (National Information Standards Organization) report, Metadata Made Simpler: A Guide for Libraries. It presents a general discussion of metadata as it relates to the preservation, discovery, and use of resources in library environments. There are also sections on creating metadata, specific standards, crosswalks, registries, and future trends, as well as a bibliography and glossary.
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections
The IMLS framework paper "is intended as a resource for grant applicants, IMLS and other federal funding agencies, rather than as a set of requirements." Included is a section dealing specifically with metadata which lays out five general principles as well as providing a number of bibliographies.
Digital Libraries: Metadata Resources
This site, sponsored by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) offers categorized links to other library-related metadata resources.
Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI)
PADI is a "subject gateway to digital preservation resources." The site offers pages on metadata in general and preservation metadata in particular. Included on each is a short discussion of the topic followed by extensive annotated bibliographies of related articles, guidelines, projects, etc.
Metadata Principles and Practicalities
Through the use of two specific examples of initiatives, the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative and the IEEE Learning Object Metadata Working Group, the authors discuss in detail the ideas of metadata "principles" and "practicalities." Principles "are those concepts judged to be common to all domains of metadata and which might inform the design of any metadata schema or application." Practicalities, on the other hand, are "the rules of thumb, constraints, and infrastructure issues that emerge from bringing theory into practice in the form of useful and sustainable systems."
Preserving the Whole: A Two-Track Approach to Rescuing Social Science Data and Metadata
As its abstract explains, this paper is "a meticulously detailed case study of migration as a preservation strategy. It explores the options available for migrating both data stored in a technically obsolete format and their associated documentation stored on paper, which may itself be rapidly deteriorating. . . . Moreover, the authors make the important observation that data sets will be indecipherable and cannot survive at all, regardless of the file format in which they are stored, if there is no effort made also to preserve their codebooks. A codebook is essential documentation that relates the numeric data to meaningful fields and values of information."
Metadata Standards and Information Analysis: A Survey of Current Metadata Standards and Underlying Models
As the introduction explains, "This thesis surveys several standards: the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), the Warwick Framework and the Resource Description Framework (RDF), and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Although created for different purposes by different groups of people, these standards are closely related. This thesis will describe the standards in detail, and explore the relations between them." The paper also discusses the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and the INDECS metadata model.
MetaMap is maintained by the staff of the University of Montreal's School of Library and Information Sciences. It offers links to information on over 180 metadata initiatives through a graphical interface in the form of a subway map. Topics are represented by subway lines and include Creation, Organization, Dissemination, Preservation, Archives, Moving Images, and Text. You will need the external plug-in Adobe SVG Viewer to see the Scalable Vector Graphics. Links to this free software are available on the MetaMap website.
Centre for Economic and Social Studies on the Environment (CESSE): Metadata Standards Directory
These pages provide visitors with an annotated list of lists dealing with metadata standards, as well as direct links to metadata standard sites.
The Meta-Data and Data Management Information Page
Hosted by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), this site offers information organized into a number of categories: conferences and projects, working groups, archives of the IEEE metadata listserv, bibliography, and other efforts. The last section offers links to standardization projects, journals, tools, and general metadata projects.
Metacrap: Putting the Torch to the Straw-Men of Meta-Utopia
Author Cory Doctorow offers a short, tongue-in-cheek discussion of metadata, what it is, and the pitfalls of its use.
Creating a Meta Data Strategy
This short article by Anne Marie Smith offers a simple list of various components of a metadata strategy such as data stewardship, metadata storage, and naming standards.
Meta Data Themes - Part One, the Basics
Meta Data Themes - Part Two, Advanced Themes
In the first of these articles, published in The Data Administration Newsletter (TDAN), Robert Seiner focuses on three system architecture uses for metadata: data modeling, physical database implementation, and data movement within systems. The second article breaks data administration, database administration, and data movement metadata into three areas of discussion: data quality, access, and accountability.
Questions Meta Data Can Answer
Author Robert Seiner focuses on ten topic categories of questions that metadata can help with, including databases, data modeling, business rules, data access, and computer operations. Under each of the categories, he lists a sampling of questions. While no discussion of the questions is provided, they provide an excellent starting point for understanding the various uses of metadata from an information technology standpoint.
Selecting the 'Right' Meta Data to Manage
Author Robert Seiner seeks to answer three questions with respect to data administration, database, data movement, and business intelligence metadata: (1) What metadata types make up this category? (2) What questions will this metadata answer? (3) Who will benefit from the availability of this metadata?
XML - The Future of Metadata
This article by Clive Finkelstein explores in detail the connection between metadata and eXtensible Markup Language (XML).
Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (ANSI/NISO Z39.85-2001)
The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) became an official ANSI/NISO standard in 2001. The fifteen-element metadata standard is the product of a series of a number of workshops which began in 1995 and is designed to facilitate resource discovery. Intended to serve international users in a flexible manner, the elements are all optional, repeatable, and labeled with descriptive names. Metadata generated from this scheme may be represented in a number of ways (e.g., HTML, RDF) for use on the Internet.
Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard (Minnesota Office of Technology Standard IRM 20)
The Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard was developed to facilitate records management by government entities at any level of government. It is based directly on the standard authored by the National Archives of Australia, but has been adapted to meet the Minnesota government environment. The standard is comprised of twenty metadata elements, ten of which are mandatory.
Recordkeeping Metadata Standard for Commonwealth Agencies (Australia)
Released in early 1999, this metadata standard directly addresses recordkeeping requirements through twenty metadata elements, eight of which are mandatory. The standard is intended for use with purely electronic recordkeeping systems as well as those that are hybrid (electronic, paper, and other formats). Many of the standard's metadata elements have counterparts in the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. The standard is part of a government-wide comprehensive records management scheme that includes a government information locator service.
New South Wales Recordkeeping Metadata Standard
This recordkeeping metadata standard aims, among other things, to enhance effective records management and to support the interchange of records between different organizations and different systems. It is based, in large part, on the National Archives of Australia's Recordkeeping Metadata Standard for Commonwealth Agencies, and is intended to complement two other State Records publications: Standard on Recordkeeping in the Electronic Business Environment and the Manual for Designing and Implementing Recordkeeping Systems.
PROS 99/007 Standard for the Management of Electronic Records, Specification 2: VERS Metadata Scheme (Public Record Office Victoria)
The VERS metadata scheme is an adaptation of the National Archives of Australia's Recordkeeping Metadata Standard for Commonwealth Agencies, but the implementation strategy and goals differ significantly. For example, the VERS scheme advocates the encapsulation of objects at or near the time of their creation using eXtensible Markup Language (XML) such that they are self-documenting.
Metadata Encoding Transmission Standard (METS)
The METS standard, developed by the Digital Library Federation and maintained by the Library of Congress, aims at providing "an XML document format for encoding metadata necessary for both management of digital library objects within a repository and exchange of such objects between repositories (or between repositories and their users)." METS documents consist of four primary parts: descriptive metadata, administrative metadata, file groups, and a structural map.
Library of Congress Digital Repository Development: Core Metadata Elements
This list of metadata elements, drawn from other projects, is used to describe objects in digital repositories at the Library of Congress. Metadata elements are categorized as to administrative, descriptive, and structural and may be applied in a hierarchy fashion at various levels of collection.
Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS)
MODS is a project by the Library of Congress' Network Development and MARC Standards Office. The standard, which is still under development, is intended to complement other metadata schemes, including the MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) and METS (Metadata Encoding Transmission Standard) formats. It is expressed as an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) schema.
Data Dictionary - Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images NISO Z39.87-2002; AIIM 20-2002)
Published standard in 2006. The stated purpose of this standard is to "define a standard set of metadata elements for raster digital images to enable users to develop, exchange, and interpret digital image files. The dictionary has been designed to facilitate interoperability between systems, services, and software as well as to support the long-term management of and continuing access to digital image collections." The NISO committee, in conjunction with others including the Library of Congress, is also developing an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) schema for use with the standard (draft entitled "NISO Metadata for Images in XML" or MIX).
Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)
The OAI is supported by the Digital Library Federation, the Coalition for Networked Information, and the National Science Foundation. Its goal is to develop and promote "interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content." The OAI-PMH "defines a mechanism for harvesting XML-formatted metadata from repositories. The protocol does not provide a mechanism for harvesting data (content) that is not encoded in XML. The protocol also does not mandate the means of association between that metadata and related content. Since many clients may want to access the content associated with harvested metadata, data providers may deem it appropriate to define a link in the metadata to the content. The mandatory Dublin Core format provides the identifier element that can be used for this purpose."
Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (NASA, Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), ISO/DIS 14721.2)
The OAIS reference model serves as a foundation for much other work in the areas of long-term digital preservation and access. An OAIS is defined as "an archive, consisting of an organization of people and systems, that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available for a designated community." As the document explains, "The reference model address a full range of archival preservation functions including ingest, archival storage, data management, access, and dissemination. It also address the migration of digital information to new media and forms, the data models used to represent the information, the role of software in information preservation and the exchange of digital information among archives. It identifies both internal and external interfaces to the archive functions, and it identifies a number of high-level services at these interfaces. It provides various illustrative examples and some 'best practice' recommendations. Finally, it attempts to define a maximal archive to provide a broad set of useful terms and concepts, but it defines a minimal set of responsibilities for an archive to be called an OAIS." The OAIS reference model is under consideration as an ISO standard (ISO/DIS 14721.2). For more general information, visit the "Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Actiivities and Resources" page hosted by OCLC (http://www.oclc.org/programs/ourwork/past/oaisactivities.htm).
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium): The Semantic Web / Resource Description Framework (RDF)
RDF is a framework for describing and interchanging metadata on the Web through the use of eXtensible Markup Language (XML). The W3C web site offers access to the specifications, technical reports, related articles, developer resources, and links to implementation projects.
CDP Dublin Core Metadata Best Practices (CDPDCMBP), Version 2.1
The CDPDCMBP is an extension and application of the basic Dublin Core metadata element set. It was developed and is maintained in conjunction with the Metadata Working Group of the Collaborative Digitization Program, which aims to bring together digital resources from various cultural institutions in the state.
Preservation Metadata for Digital Collections: Exposure Draft
This proposed metadata standard, developed by the National Library of Australia, is comprised of twenty-five metadata elements and a number of sub-elements concerned only with preservation. The authors point out that the set is "intended to be a statement of the information we believe is needed to manage preservation of digital collections. It is meant to be a data output model, not a data input model. It indicates the information we want out of a metadata system, not necessarily what data should be entered, how it should be entered, by whom and at what time; nor does it concern itself with how the metadata should be associated with what it is describing. We believe this model should be applicable to many implementations that may decide to record this information in a variety of ways. This model simply says: 'however you do it, this is what you have to deliver so we can manage preservation.'"
Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC 21)
MARC 21, maintained by the Library of Congress, allows bibliographic and related information to be represented, managed, and communicated in machine-readable, or digital, form.
Global Information Locator Service (GILS)
This is the home page of the U.S. Federal GILS project, which is based upon the international information search standard ISO 10163 (ANSI Z39.50). The site offers general information about the project, as well as links to other federal, state, and international GILS ventures.
AGLS (Australian Government Locator Service)
This is the official site for the Australian Government Locator Service maintained by the National Archives of Australia. The AGLS metadata standard, which is based upon the Dublin Core scheme, consists of nineteen elements. The goal of the project is to increase the visibility and accessibility of government services and information on the Internet. A user's manual is offered in both PDF and HTML formats. Additionally, the NAA plans on developing an interactive thesaurus to facilitate user-friendly, natural-language searching. Other links lead visitors to additional information about metadata research and the evolution of AGLS.
Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)
The formal goal of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is "to establish an international criterion and methodology for the content, presentation, transport, and preservation of 'metadata' about datasets in the social and behavioral sciences." The group has produced a Document Type Definition (DTD) for the markup of social science "codebooks" (metadata) in eXtensible Markup Language (XML).
IMS Learning Resource Meta-Data Specification
The IMS Global Learning Consortium has developed metadata specifications to facilitate the location and use of online information resources for education. The standard is comprised of three parts: the Meta-Data Information Model, the Meta-Data XML Binding Specification, and the Meta-Data Best Practices and Implementation Guide.
ISO/IEC 11179 is actually a six-part family of standards for the informational and organizational structure of metadata registries: Part 1 (Framework), Part 2 (Classification for Data Elements), Part 3 (Basic Attributes for Data Elements), Part 4 (Rules and Guidelines for the Formulation of Data Definitions), Part 5 (Naming and Identification Principles for Data Elements), and Part 6 (Registration of Data Elements). Each part of the standard is available for purchase through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Object Management Group (OMG): XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)
The XML Cover Pages: XML Metadata Interchange (XMI)
XMI is described as an open industry standard "enabling easy interchange of metadata between modeling tools (based on the OMG-UML) and metadata repositories (OMG-MOF based) in distributed heterogeneous environments." OMG-UML is Unified Modeling Language, a "rich, object oriented modeling language that is supported by a range of graphical design tools." OMG-MOF is Meta Object Facility, a standard that "defines an extensible framework for defining models for metadata and providing tools with programmatic interfaces to store and access metadata in a repository." The XMI specification includes a discussion of XML, UML, and MOF, as well as usage scenarios, XMI DTD (Document Type Definition) design principles, DTDs for UML and MOF, and more.
Metadata Standards Directory (CEESE)
Maintained by CESSE (Centre for Economic and Social Studies on the Environment) these pages provide visitors with an annotated list of lists dealing with metadata standards, as well as direct links to metadata standard sites. As a word of warning: this site has not received regular updates in the past, so some of the links may be outdated.
Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC): Metadata
This site is sponsored by the FGDC, which is made up of over seventeen federal agencies. Working with such partners as state and local governments, the academic community, and industry, the FGDC is supervising the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) with the goal of sharing geographic data through standards, policies, and procedures. Through subcommittees and working groups, the FGDC has several geospatial data standards completed or in some stage of development. These include the Cadastral Data Content Standard, the Spatial Data Transfer Standard, the Address Content Standard, and the Government Unit Boundary Data Content Standard. As well, The FGDC has developed the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) to be used by all federal agencies. This metadata standard is composed of 334 different elements. The FGDC also coordinates the National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse for participants worldwide interested in sharing digital geospatial data that conforms to the CSDGM.
This international metadata standard for geographic data sets is the product of the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) ISO/TC 211 work group. The elements are intended to facilitate the discovery of data, determination of fitness for use, data access, and use of data. It is designed to complement other standards, including the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata.
Minnesota Land Management Information Center
LMIC, a division of the Minnesota Planning Agency, is charged with coordinating the "effective use of digital geographic data to support public policy and government operations" in the state. The Center, as a member of the GIS Standards Committee of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Geographic Information, helped develop a standard format for GIS metadata (the Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines) based upon the federal model of the CSDGM (Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata). LMIC makes available software (DataLogr) to aid data holders in recording their metadata in conformance with the Minnesota guidelines. By arrangement, LMIC offers project assistance and research- and technology-related services.
Featured links at the LMIC site include the 2000 Minnesota Geographic Data Catalog (which gives information about data holdings at LMIC as well as other state and federal agencies), the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium, and MetroGIS. Additionally, the Minnesota Geographic Data Clearinghouse, a node of the FGDC's National Spatial Data Infrastructure Clearinghouse, contains information on over seventy documented state-related geographic databases; both clearinghouses are accessible through LMIC's site. The Minnesota GeoGateway assists users in locating data sets specific to the state and surrounding region through search capabilities bounded by geographic area, keyword, or time period.
This Minnesota GIS project, organized and supported by the Metropolitan Council, brings together data resources from various contributors within the seven county area of the Twin Cities (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington). In addition to providing project updates and reports, MetroGIS has developed the Data Finder Service to assist access to the databases held by its participants. Users may search the index by theme, contributor, or metadata content, as well as being able to view the entire list of resources. The content of each data resource is summarized and accompanied by metadata.
National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII): Metadata
The NBII site is maintained by the Biological Resources Division of the United States Geological Survey to "provide swift user access to biological databases, information products, directories, and guides maintained by Federal, State, and local government agencies, non-government institutions and private sector organizations in the United States and around the world." The Biological Data Profile is based upon the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata.
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD)
NASA has created the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD), a free database directory detailing thousands of data sets (covering such topics as climate change, biosphere, hydrosphere, oceans, geology, geography, human dimensions) relevant to global change research. Descriptions are standardized using the Directory Interchange Format (DIF). The DIF metadata scheme incorporates several fields including Identifier, Title, Parameters, Keyword, and Spatial Coverage. DIF sets are completely compatible with the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Content Standard on Digital Geospatial Metadata.
This site, presented by the Harvard Design and Mapping Company, provides visitors with over a thousand GIS and map-related links. General areas of interest include breaking news, pointers to other GIS resource lists, data and software, academic research, agencies and governments worldwide (from the municipal/local level on up), and commercial and non-government sites.
Mapping Between Metadata Formats
The web site offers links to other resources detailing crosswalks between various metadata standards such as Dublin Core, MARC, GILS, and the CSDGM.
Issues in Crosswalking Content Metadata Standards
This NISO white paper works from the idea that "a crosswalk is a specification for mapping one metadata standard to another. Crosswalks provide the ability to make the contents of elements defined in one metadata standard available to communities using related metadata standards." The authors offer an excellent general discussion of crosswalks, their benefits, and related problems with practical implementation.
Bridges: Minnesota's Gateway to Environmental Information
The Bridges project represented a collaboration between Minnesota's environmental agencies with the goal of providing easy access to their electronic resources such as web pages, PDF documents, databases, and geographic data. Resources were cataloged using the Dublin Core metadata scheme and are located through a simple cross-agency search engine, available through the state's North Star portal (http://www.state.mn.us). Although the project was completed in July 2000, the web site still offers a number of resources to visitors, including best practice guidelines for web metadata, information on metadata tools, project reports, as well as links to participating agencies, other regional and federal environmental sites, and the Minnesota Governor's Council on Geographic Information.
OCLC/RLG Preservation Metadata Working Group
The Preservation Metadata Working Group is "tasked with examining current practice in the use of preservation metadata, and developing a comprehensive preservation metadata framework applicable to a broad range of digital preservation activities." Reports from the group include "Preservation Metadata and the OAIS Information Model: A Metadata Framework to Support the Preservation of Digital Objects."
Long-Term Retention of Digital Research Materials
The most recent publication by the RLG Preservation Program (completed in cooperation with the OCLC) is titled "Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities." As explained within the report, "a trusted digital repository is one whose mission is to reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources to its designated community, now and in the future." The intended audience for the report are those involved in cultural preservation, and the framework and recommendations are connected to the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS).
The Metadata Engine Project (METAe)
Partners from fourteen European nations and the U.S. are working together on the METAe project, which was slated to run from March 2000 to March 2003. As the project website explains: "METAe is not a research project on digital preservation itself. The contribution of METAe to the area of digital preservation will be indirect: The project will ease the automated creation of (technical, descriptive, and structural) metadata during the image capturing and digitization process. In other words: METAe will integrate metadata capturing into application software and it will pick-up recent developments and emerging standards in order to make the output highly compatible to existing digital library systems. METAe's approach to metadata can be summarized in two sentences: (1) At the front end of digitisation the metadata capturing (both on the levels of technical, structural and descriptive metadata) will be conducted in a highly automated way following selected standards, (2) At the back end of digitization a highly standardized "archival information package" will be produced - ready for further processing and storage in digital libraries." The METAe software package will be based on a number of standards, including Open Archival Information Systems (OAIS) and eXtensible Markup Language (XML).
The Schemas Project: Forum for Metadata Schema Implementers
The Schemas Project, which officially ended in December 2001, was intended to inform "schema implementers about the status and proper use of new and emerging metadata standards, . . . [support] development of good-practice guidelines for the use of standards in local implementations, . . . [and investigate] how metadata registries can support these aims." Products of the project include "Metadata Watch" summaries, framework and workshop reports, a metadata schema registry, and several related articles.
UKOLN Metadata Page
UKOLN is a consortium aimed at providing "policy, research and awareness services to the UK library, information and cultural heritage communities." The group reviews current approaches to metadata and is involved in a number of projects relating to resource description, including ARCO (Augmented Representation of Cultural Objects), DESIRE Metadata Registry, and the IMesh Toolkit (architecture and toolkit for distributed gateways). Past projects include CEDARS, DESIRE, BIBLINK, NewsAgent, ROADS, and TF-CHIC.
Powered by Metadata
RLG (Research Libraries Group) Metadata Summit (July 1997)
With a focus on the Dublin Core elements, conference participants explored the use of metadata as a tool to improve access to non-HTML based information resources accessible via the Internet.
HiSoftware's TagGen product allows the easy insertion and maintenance of metadata tags in web documents without disturbing other tags or page design. Of particular value to Minnesota state agencies is the Dublin Core edition, which is available free of charge to each through the Bridges Project (http://bridges.state.mn.us/). Trial versions are available for free download from the HiSoftware site.
Reggie-The Metadata Editor
The Reggie tool creates metadata using the HTML 3.2 standard, the HTML 4.0 standard, and the RDF (Resource Description Framework) format, with the results being e-mailed to the user. It can be used for the following metadata element sets and languages: Dublin Core, GILS, ANZLIC, AGLS, EdNA, IMS, GEM. The tool requires a familiarity with element set definitions, as well as the latest version of either the Netscape or Microsoft browser. The site is maintained by the Resource Discovery Unit of the Distributed Systems Technology Centre, which is supported by the Australian government.
Nordic Metadata Project-Dublin Core Metadata Template
As its name implies, this is a form, based upon the elements of the Dublin Core, into which the user enters text. Meta tags are generated and returned in either the HTML or HTML-4 formats. Tags must be cut and pasted into the target web document by the user.
UKOLN (UK Office for Library and Information Networking) DC-Dot
This service retrieves user-specified web pages and generates HTML meta tags based upon the elements of the Dublin Core. The tool will also extract metadata from Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. Tags can be converted into the following formats: USMARC, SOIF, IAFA/ROADS, TEI headers, GILS and RDF. As an additional utility, users can check the validity any Dublin Core web page metadata they may already have.
7 March 2007