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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Descriptive Metadata for Digitization Projects

This guide outlines metadata considerations for projects digitized in the Digitization Services unit.

Introduction

The DLS Metadata Best Practices is a document intended to guide the design of metadata profiles and application of descriptive metadata within the University of Illinois Digital Library System (DLS). This document was created based on a variety of nationally and internationally accepted metadata standards and reflects recommendations for assuring accuracy and consistency within digital collections and across the broader system. The DLS Metadata Best Practices document is intended to be a resource for content providers (librarians, archivists, etc.) as they work with a Metadata Specialist to prepare and use metadata profiles within the DLS. 

Please be advised, this document is NOT an instruction guide for how to create a metadata profile. All new profiles must be approved by a Metadata Specialist before being implemented.

This document was developed by Patricia Lampron, Hannah Stitzlein, and Brinna Michael. For links to additional resources and documentation used in creating this document, please see Resources below.

Index of Terms

Required

Top Level Element

isPartOf

LocalID

Title

Provider

Rights

Type

Required if Applicable

Top Level Element

Refinements

Creator

Artist

Author

Composer

Illustrator

Lyricist

Engraver

Contributor

Printer

Date

dateCopyrighted

dateCreated

Description

 

Language

 

Highly Recommended

Top Level Element

Refinements

Subject

temporalCoverage

spatialCoverage

Optional

Top Level Element

Dimensions

Extent

Genre

Medium

publicationPlace

Publisher

Relation

Source

spatialCoverage

Example:

Element

Requirement

Level of requirement for the field:

Required Field is required to be used in a record

Required if applicable Field is required if applicable in a record

Highly recommended Not required, but highly recommended to use field in a record

Optional Inclusion of field is up to the metadata creator

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Whether a controlled vocabulary is required

Repeatable

Whether the field is repeatable

Refinements

Other terms that may be used to refine the field

Definition

The definition for the field

Definition Source

The source from which the definition came

Controlled Vocabulary

Any controlled vocabularies that can or should be used for the field

Dublin Core

Dublin Core field that the metadata field is mapped to

Input Guidelines

How metadata should be input into the field

Examples

Value

Note

Example 1

Text describing characteristics of example

Example 2

Text describing characteristics of example

Required Elements

isPartOf

Requirement

Required

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

Used only for the title of a collection.

Definition Source

Local definition

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

dcterms:isPartOf

Input Guidelines

Use to state the title of the collection to which this resource belongs.

Examples

Value

Note

Picture Chicago

Collection title of which the item is a part.

Carl Sandburg Collection

Collection title of which the item is a part.

LocalId

Requirement

Required

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

No

Refinements

bibId

inventoryId

Definition

A local identifier unique to the object being described.

Definition Source

Local definition

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

None

Input Guidelines

Identifiers may be assigned based on local practices or by using a supplied identifier. Bib IDs should be recorded using the bibID field.

Examples

Value

Note

8011542

A bibliographic ID assigned by the Voyager Cataloging client. (Used in bibId.)

1601005_001

An archival record series number with an item number.

Title

Requirement

Required

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

No

Refinements

alternativeTitle

Definition

The primary name given to the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

dc:title

Input Guidelines

Titles should be descriptive, yet succinct. Create an appropriate a title if none exists. For items with more than one title, put all subsequent titles in alternativeTitle fields.

Examples

Value

Note

Title: Grizzly Bears of Alaska

Alternate Title: Arthur’s Compendium of North American Mammals

The title in this example is the main title of the work, and the alternate title is the remainder of the title.

Title: Frankenstein

Alternate Title: The Modern Prometheus

The title in this example is the main title of the work, and the alternate title is the secondary title that the work is known by.

Provider

Requirement

Required

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

No

Refinements

None

Definition

The name of the repository that holds the materials.

Definition Source

Local definition

Controlled Vocabulary

Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)

Dublin Core

None

Input Guidelines

The primary repository responsible for the physical item should be recorded in this field. It is recommended to record the provider name using PCC NACO rules for creating authority headings.

Examples

Value

Note

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Institution name, followed by a period, then the repository for the item - as per PCC NACO rules.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. University Archives

Institution name, followed by a period, then the repository for the item - as per PCC NACO rules.

Rights

Requirement

Required

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Yes

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

Information about rights held in and over the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

RightsStatements.org

Dublin Core

dc:rights

Input Guidelines

Use Rights to indicate the copyright status of the digital item, its copyright holder and/or contact information (if applicable), and physical ownership rights (if applicable). It is recommended to use standardized rights statements where possible. It should be noted that digitization does not create a new copyright, and transfers of ownership do not necessarily equate to a new copyright.

Examples

Value

Note

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted

Describes that the item is in copyright and has an education use permission. From RightsStatements.org

No Copyright - United States

Describes that the item is no longer in copyright. From RightsStatements.org

Type

Requirement

Required

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Yes

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

Genre

Definition

The nature or genre of the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

UIUC Library Type Vocabulary

Dublin Core

dc:type

Input Guidelines

Use Type to record the most general description of the tangible nature of the item. To describe the intangible nature of the digital item or the physical object (such as the content or style) use Genre as described below.

Examples

Value

Note

Still Image

Indicates an item that is a still visual, such as a photograph.

Text

Indicates an item that is primarily textual, such as a scanned letter or document.

Required if Applicable

Creator

Requirement

Required if applicable

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Suggested

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

Artist, Author, Composer, Illustrator, Lyricist, Engraver

Definition

An entity primarily responsible for creating the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)

Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)

Dublin Core

dc:creator

Input Guidelines

Prefered form of name from a controlled vocabulary such as LCNAF (id.loc.gov). If name is not listed there, present name in inverted format: Last name, First name, Middle initial and birth and death dates (YYYY-YYYY) where known.


For further help in formatting names not found in LCNAF, refer to the PCC NACO rules for creating authority headings.

Examples

Value

Note

Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865

Last name, First name, birthdate-deathdate. This value is from the Library of Congress Name Authority File.

Ai, Weiwei

Last name, First name. This value is from the Union List of Artist Names, and does not include birth and death dates.

Contributor

Requirement

Required if applicable

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Suggested

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

Printer

Definition

An entity responsible for making contributions to the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)

Dublin Core

dc:contributor

Input Guidelines

Use for people or entities that are not the primary creator, but who contributed to making the intellectual content of the resource. Examples include illustrators, editors, translators, etc.

 

Prefer form of name as verified in the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF). If name is not listed there, present name in inverted format: Last name, First name, Middle initial and birth and death dates where known.

 

For further help in formatting names not found in LCNAF, refer to the PCC NACO rules for creating authority headings.

Examples

Value

Note

Dunbar, Paul Laurence, 1872-1906

Last name, First name, birth and death dates. This name comes from the LCNAF.

Winfrey, Oprah

Last name, First name. Birth and death dates not included in authorized heading.This name comes from the LCNAF.

Date

Requirement

Required if applicable

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Yes

Repeatable

No

Refinements

dateCopyrighted

dateCreated

Definition

A point or period of time associated with an event in the lifecycle of the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

Extended Date Time Format (EDTF)

W3C Date Time Format profile of ISO 8601

Dublin Core

dc:date

Input Guidelines

This element refers to the creation date of the original resource, that is, when the resource was first created, before undergoing any conversion.

  • For digitized resources use the date the physical material was created.
  • For born digital materials, use the date the original file was created. If the file has been converted to another format, use the date of creation of the original format.

Additional types of dates (see refinements) are allowed, though only one date (i.e., date of the original) should be mapped to <dc:date> to prevent confusion in harvesting environments that use only simple DC.

If the date is unknown, specify an estimated date or date range.

Examples

Value

Note

1996-05-26

Specific date where month and day are known.

1889-1893

Date range between years.

Description

Requirement

Required if applicable

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

An account of the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

dc:description

Input Guidelines

Record information about the digital resource  including, but not limited to, the item’s history, physical appearance, contents, etc.

Examples

Value

Note

Three botanical illustrations in the Fabaceae family, in the genus Acacia, including Acacia baileyana, Acacia plicatum, and Acacia penninervis. Color lithograph print.

Describes the content of the object.

Five poems written by Paul Laurence Dunbar are printed on a folded pamphlet. Each page includes a single poem with a green illustration at the bottom.

Physical description as well as content description of the object.

Language

Requirement

Required if applicable

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Yes

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

A language of the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

ISO 639-3

Dublin Core

dc:language

Input Guidelines

Use ISO 639-3 three letter codes. For multiple languages, use separate language fields. The language field should be used to describe the language of the original resource, and not the metadata describing the resource.

Examples

Value

Note

eng

3-character language code for material in English

ita||deu

Two 3-character languages for a material in Italian and German, separated by “||”

Highly Recommended

Subject

Requirement

Highly recommended

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Suggested

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

temporalCoverage

spatialCoverage

Definition

The topic of the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

Strongly recommended to use established controlled vocabularies such as:

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
  • Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Dublin Core

dc:subject

Input Guidelines

Describe what the resource content is about, expressed in keywords, phrases, names, or subject headings. It is not recommended to use compound subject headings.

Examples

Value

Note

Installations (visual works)

AAT subject heading term

Library war service

LCSH term

Optional

Dimensions

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

The physical dimensions or parameters of a resource.

Definition Source

Local definition

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

None

Input Guidelines

Physical dimensions should include the units of measurement that describe the resource. Dimensions may include height, width, and/or length.

Examples

Value

Note

121.4 x 81.8 cm.

Physical dimension with unit of measurement included.

5 x 22 x 11 feet

Physical dimension of three-dimensional object with unit of measurement included.

Extent

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

The size or duration of the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

dcterms:extent

Input Guidelines

Describe the file size and, if applicable, duration of the digital object, number of pages or files, etc.

Examples

Value

Note

30:09 min

Length of time of a video, including the measurement of time used.

128 GB

Size of a digital file, including the measurement of byte size.

Genre

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Suggested

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

Terms indicating the genre, form, and/or physical characteristics of the materials being described.

Definition Source

MARC 21

Controlled Vocabulary

Strongly recommended to use established controlled vocabularies such as:

  • Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
  • Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM)
  • Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT)

Dublin Core

None

Input Guidelines

Describe the intangible nature of the digital item or the original, physical object, such as the content or style.

The genre element is in addition to the required element type.

Examples

Value

Note

Essays

LCGFT term describing a short literary composition written in expository prose addressed to the general reader.

Advertisements

TGM term describing public notices of the availability of goods or services through purchase or other means.

Medium

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

The material of physical carrier of the resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

Art and Architecture Thesaurus

Dublin Core

dcterms:medium

Input Guidelines

Describe the materials used in the creation of the original object.

Examples

Value

Note

ink||paper

Two mediums separated by a “||”

gelatin silver prints

Medium indicating carrier and process.

publicationPlace

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Suggested

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

The geographic location in which a resource was published.

Definition Source

Locally created

Controlled Vocabulary

Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)

Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

GeoNames

GeoNet

Dublin Core

None

Input Guidelines

Location of the entity that created or has provided access to the resource at the time of publication.

Examples

Value

Note

Gotha (Germany)

For locations without an associate state, use city, then country in parentheses.

New York City (N.Y.)

For locations in the US, use city first, then state in parentheses.

Publisher

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

An entity responsible for making the resource available.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)

Dublin Core

dc:publisher

Input Guidelines

Name of the entity that originally provided access to the resource. A publisher may include a person, organization, or a service.

Examples

Value

Note

Geological Survey (U.S.)

Name of government publisher with geographic jurisdiction (Library of Congress Name Authority File).

Thomas & Andrews

Name of publishing company (Library of Congress Name Authority File).

Relation

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

No

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

A related resource.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

dc:relation

Input Guidelines

The name of a related collection(s) or a link to a description of a related collection(s). This field should be used in the case of curated digital collections which draw on digitized or born-digital materials from multiple repository collections.

For the original resource (the item from which the digital resource is derived), use the source field.

Examples

Value

Note

University Bands Collection, ca. 1840-1997

Name of a collection containing materials related to the digital item.

Lloyd Farrar Music Instrument Collection, 1893-1957

Name of a collection containing materials related to the digital item.

Source

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

None

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

A related resource from which the described resource is derived.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

None

Dublin Core

dc:source

Input Guidelines

Use only when the digital resource belongs to a grouping of physical materials such as a book, atlas, etc.

For other types of related resources, use relation.

Examples

Value

Note

Arthus-Bertrand, Yann; The New Earth from Above: 365 Days, New York, New York: Abrams, 2006  (9780810992917)

Citation for the original resource.

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession File #1992.11

Museum accession number for the original resource.

spatialCoverage

Requirement

Optional

Controlled Vocabulary Required

Suggested

Repeatable

Yes

Refinements

None

Definition

The physical location related to the resource, or the jurisdiction under which the resource is relevant.

Definition Source

DCMI Metadata Terms

Controlled Vocabulary

Library of Congress Name Authority (LCNAF)

Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

GeoNames

GeoNet

Dublin Core

dcterms:spatial

Input Guidelines

Name of a place or area that is described or represented by the resource, not the place where the resource was published (see publicationPlace).

Examples

Value

Note

Champaign (Ill.)

LCNAF term indicating a political division.

Africa, Central

LCNAF term indicating a region.

Resources

Below are a list of resources to assist in identifying and accessing some of the controlled vocabularies and metadata standards mentioned above.


The following documents served as inspiration during the creation of the DLS Metadata Best Practices documentation.