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Case Studies​

CDP Metadata Working Group Dublin Core Metadata Best Practices Version 2.1.1
This document provides guidelines for creating metadata records for digital cultural heritage resources, both digitized and born digital. Using the best practices outlined will result in DC records that improve discoverability and quality control, and facilitate institutional operability.

CDP Access as a Metadata Bridge
The University of Denver's Penrose Library developed a processes that converts existing descriptive records into Dublin Core elements, using Microsoft Access as a bridge between the sets of metadata elements.

CDP Music to Our Eyes: providing metadata for digitized sheet music using MARC and Dublin Core
This case study reviews a project to provide metadata for digitized sheet music, from the perspective of cataloging and metadata creation. It includes challenges encountered, procedures to revolve them, and recommendations for other digitization projects. This project formulated best practice guidelines for subsequent digitization projects.

CDP Metadata Tracking Worksheet

CDP MARC to DC Crosswalk Template

CDP Database to DC Crosswalk Template

Rocky Mountain Online Archive EAD Outsourcing Guide
This guide provides procedures for submitting archival finding aids for encoding by outside vendors, and inclusion in the Rocky Mountain Online Archive but is useful to inform processes within other institutions or organizations as well.

Outsourcing Coversheet Form

Collection Level Description Form

Component Level Description Form


AVI MetaEdit
AVI MetaEdit supports embedding and validating metadata in AVI video files. 

BWF Metaedit
BWF MetaEdit permits embedding, editing, and exporting of metadata in Broadcast WAVE Format (BWF) files. It can also enforce metadata guidelines developed by the Federal Agencies Audio-Visual Working group.

ExifTool is a platform-independent Perl library and command line application for reading, writing, and editing metadata in a wide variety of files.

Technical Online Processing Tools
TPOT, from the University of California at San Diego, maintains a bibliography on metadata resources, as well as resources on cataloging electronic resources and links to other relevant resources.

Conversion MARC to Aquifer MODS XSLT Stylesheet
An update to the DLF Aquifer Metadata Working Group XML stylesheet developed for the Aquifer project, for conversion of MARCXML records to MODS. Changes are briefly documented in the comments at the beginning of the stylesheet.

DCMI Tools
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative tools page provides links to crosswalks, conversion, metadata extraction, metadata generation, and metadata quality tools.

MDQC is a tool to for automated quality control of metadata. The user creates a set of rules against which technical and administrative metadata are compared.

MediaInfo is a tool to display technical and descriptive metadata for video and audio files.

Standards and Best Practices

Dublin Core

Dublin Core

The Dublin Core is a metadata element set intended to facilitate the discovery of electronic resources. Originally conceived for author-generated description of Web resources, it has attracted the attention of formal resource description communities such as museums, libraries, government agencies, and commercial Page 1 of 5 Page 2 of 5 organizations. The building of an interdisciplinary, international consensus around a core element set is the central feature of the Dublin Core. Some of the characteristics that distinguish the Dublin Core as a prominent candidate for description of electronic resources include: simplicity (elements have roughly the same complexity as a library catalog card); semantic interoperability ( a common set of descriptors will promote searching across discipline boundaries); international consensus, and extensibility (an economic alternative to elaborate description models such as MARC).

Dublin Core Library Application Profile

The document proposes a possible application profile that clarifies the use of the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set in libraries and library-related applications and projects. It was prepared by the DCMI-Libraries Application Profile working group, a subset of the DCMI-Libraries Working Group. This document is in Working Draft status, so it is under development, not formally approved by DMCI.

MARC to Dublin Core

A crosswalk from MARC to Dublin Core is now available from the MARC 21 website. This document marks MARC 21 fields to Dublin Core elements; there are separate sections for unqualified and qualified Dublin Core.

Dublin Core/MARC/GILS Crosswalk

This site provides mapping between MARC/GILS bibliographic data elements and the Dublin Core (DC) metadata element set. Conversion is mapped from DC to MARC only; since many MARC fields go into one DC element, MARC to DC conversion is not covered here. Conversion is often necessary between these sets and is used for enhancement of simple resource description records or for searching across different syntaxes and databases. Simple mapping as well as mapping when DC elements use qualifiers is demonstrated at this site. A GILS profile is also available. 


Encoded Archival Description (EAD) EAD is a SGML encoded "Document Type Definition" (DTD) intended to assist in the creation of electronic finding aids. Developed at UC-Berkeley, it is now maintained and supported as a standard by the Library of Congress and is sponsored by the Society of American Archivists. EAD can be used to represent complete archival structures, including hierarchies and associations. The kinds of functionality that the EAD affords can also be implemented using the Dublin Core. It is possible to migrate records from the Dublin Core into the EAD format if necessary. It is also possible to create EAD files that point to digital images, scanned texts, and other electronic documents.


PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata

The PRMIS Data Dictionary is a comprehensive, practical resource for implementing preservation metadata in digital archiving systems. It defines metadata that: supports the viability, renderability, understandability, authenticity, and identity of digital objects in a preservation context; represents the information most preservation repositories need to know to reserve digital materials over the long-term; emphasizes "implementable metadata" and embodies technical neutrality.

Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects: A Review of the State of the Art

Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects is a review of the state of the art as of January, 2001. This white paper prepared by the OCLC/RLG Working Group on Preservation Metadata identifies best practices for the long-term retention of digital objects. The Working Group included leading experts to review current practices, share expertise and identify best practices and common approaches. The white paper addresses issues related to the use of metadata to support the digital preservation process. The paper presents a comprehensive preservation metadata framework applicable to a broad range of digital preservation activities. They also addressed related issues such as the specification of preservation metadata elements and the evaluation of the implementation strategies. Membership included representatives from Library of Congress, British Library, Bibliotheque Nationale de FRance, National Library of Australia, UKOLN, New York Public Library, Cornell University, University of California-Berkeley, Harvard University, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, and OCLC and RLG staff.

Understanding PREMIS

"Understanding PREMIS" is an overview of the PREMIS preservation metadata standard's scope and goals. It does not give enough information to implement PREMIS, but it will make the document more familiar and give you an idea of what PREMIS is all about.


Extensible Markup Language (XML)
This page describes work done at W3C within the XML activity.

FAQ on the use and application of XML and conversion of documents in HTML to XML. 

XML in Libraries
Eric Lease Morgan's process used to learn a bit about XML, Extensible Markup Language. It is presented in an effort to share his experiences as well as provide him with the means to articulate what he learned.

Other standards and best practices

Categories for the Description of Works of Art

Categories for the Description of Works of Art" is a metadata standard for art objects and their visual surrogates, developed by a task force sponsored by the College Art Association and the Getty Trust. Version 2.0 includes a fully revised text, new sections covering artist, subject, and other "authorities," an entity relationship diagram, and 32 cataloging examples of different types of works of art and material culture, with accompanying images. The CDWA definitions document (with examples) is available as a PDF file for easy printing.

Federal Geographic Data Committee Standards

Standards from the FDGC include Geographic Information Framework Standard, Address Data Stanard, and the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata.

Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS)

The METS scheme is a standard for encoding descriptive, administrative and structural metadata regarding objects in a digital library, expressed using the SML schema language. METS is an initiative of the Digital Library Federation and is maintained by the Library of Congress.

Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS)

The Library of Congress' Network Development and MARC Standards Office, with interested experts, has developed a schema for a bibliographic element set that may be used for a variety of purposes, and particularly for library applications. As an XML schema, the "Metadata Object Description Schema" (MODS) is intended to be able to carry selected data from existing MARC 21 records as well as to enable the creation of original resource description records.

IMAP Cataloging Project

There are many groups addressing the issues of organizing digital objects. The Independent Media Arts Preservation group has a website that will assist independent producers and arts and cultural organizations catalog their collections. The focus is non-commercial production including video art, audio art, technology based installation art, etc. The site provides a standardized template for use by these organizations. The template is based on MARC and AACR-2 cataloging rules.

International Guidelines for Museum Object Information: The CIDOC Information Categories

Produced by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). A description of the information categories that can be used when developing records about the objects in museum collections.


"The USMARC formats are standards for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information in machine readable form." They contain an explicit set of rules for the structure of fields and the conventions and content values within those fields. More information about the MARC standard is available at this website.

Recordkeeping Metadata Standard for Commonwealth Agencies

The National Archives of Australia has made available on their website metadata standards that the National Archives of Australia recommends should be captured in the recordkeeping systems used by Commonwealth government agencies. This standard has its roots in the Dublin Core and is worth looking at, especially in light of the importance of defining a workable metadata standard. Part One of the standard explains the importance of standardized recordkeeping metadata and details the scope, intended application, and features of the standard. Part Two of the standard provides details on the basic set of 20 metadata elements and 65 subelements and defines them in relation to their purpose and rationale.

Resource Description Framework

The RDF, developed in collaboration with the W3 consortium, is designed to provide an infrastructure to support metadata across many web-based activities. Example applications include digital collections, search engine data collection, and distributed authoring. The RDF allows different application communities to define a metadata element set that best serves the needs of that community. Using XML as a transfer syntax, the RDF provides a uniform, interoperable means to exchange metadata between programs and across the web and a machine-understandable semantics for metadata. The W3C has granted Proposed Recommendation Status to the RDF Model and Syntax specification.


SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) is a markup language used for describing structural divisions in a text. XML (Extensible Markup Language) is designed to enable the use of SGML on the WWW. XML allows you to define your own customized markup language for many classes of documents. See also "A Gentle Introduction to SGML", a detailed but readable introduction to what SGML is and does.

From MARC to Markup: SGML and Online Library Systems

An article (1996) by Edward Gaynor that addresses markup languages--in this case, SGML-- and its relationship to library catalogs.

TEI Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange

The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is an international project to develop guidelines for the preparation and exchange of electronic texts for scholarly research. The TEI has created a set of SGML encoded Document Type Definitions (DTD's) for social science and humanities-related texts. One of TEI's most useful innovations is the TEI header, a place where a TEI-conformant document's metadata is found.

Best Practices for TEI in Libraries

Visual Resources Association Core Categories

These elements are mapped to MARC, the Categories for the Descriptions of Works of Art (CDWA) and the RLG REACH element set for description of museum objects. The Core Categories for Visual Resources is "intended as a guideline for describing visual documents depicting works of art, architecture, and artifacts or structures from material, popular, and folk culture." The categories allow for the description of the original work as well as for the visual documentation of that work

Z39.50 Maintenance Agency Homepage (LC)

Z39.50 is an international standard that allows for communication across networked computers used for searching and retrieving information. As many libraries begin delivering web-accessible searching of their catalogs, Z39.50 may become an important standard to watch when considering the integration of online digital image resources with other online resources.

The Open Archives Initiative

The Open Archives Initiative

The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. The Open Archives Initiative has its roots in an effort to enhance access to e-print archives as a means of increasing the availability of scholarly communication. Continued support of this work remains a cornerstone of the Open Archives program.

Exposing and Harvesting Metadata Using the OAI Metadata Harvesting Protocol: A Tutorial

This article outlines the ideas behind the Open Archives Initiative metadata harvesting protocol (OAIMH), and clarifies some common misconceptions. The author considers how the OAIMH protocol can be used to expose and harvest metadata. Perl code examples are given as practical illustration.

Open Archives Initiative: Object Reuse and Exchange

Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange defines standards for the description and exchange of aggregations of web resources. The goal of these standards is to expose the rich content in these aggregations to applications that support authoring, deposit, exchange, visualization, reuse and preservation.