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Introduction to Metadata. Metadata Working Group Forum September 21, 2007 Presented by Metadata Services Department Presenters: Glen Wiley, Nancy Solla, Greg Nehler. PART I: Overview. Bring order to information. Bring order to information. Dr. Frank Chardonnay (2005) Metadata

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introduction to metadata

Introduction to Metadata

Metadata Working Group Forum

September 21, 2007

Presented by Metadata Services Department

Presenters: Glen Wiley, Nancy Solla, Greg Nehler

bring order to information4
Bring order to information
  • Dr. Frank Chardonnay (2005)
  • Metadata
  • Type: White
  • Price: $14.99
  • Quantity: 750ml
  • Analysis: Alcohol 13.3%; Acidity .56g/100 ml;
  • pH 3.40; Sugar 0.4%
  • Description: The floral and fruity personality of this wine with mineral and toasty elements is in harmony with this style of Chardonnay.
  • Use: Goes great with seafood, a creamy Alfredo sauce, roasted chicken or turkey.
bring order to information5
Bring order to information
  • Categorizes
  • Contextualizes
  • Summarizes
  • Gives local meaning
definition of metadata
Definition of Metadata

Most common: “Data about data”

 too vague to be meaningful

Definition by ALA CC:DA:

  • “Metadata are structured, encoded data that describe characteristics of information-bearing entities to aid in the identification, discovery, assessment, and management of the described entities.“
    • ALCTS Committee on Cataloging Task Force on Metadata Summary Report (June 1999)

Definition of metadata

  • “…machine understandable information about web resources or other things” -- Tim Berners-Lee, Director of World Wide Web Consortium
  • “structured data about resources that can be used to help support a wide range of operations” – Michael Day, UKOLN
  • “Metadata” comes from the computer science field
  • Emerged from database research community in the late 60’s and early 70’s
  • Digital or non-digital; Human or machine readable
why metadata
Why Metadata?

The function of organizing & managing information

–for discovery & retrieval

–to enable data interchange or sharing

–resource enrichment

–resource management, including preservation

why metadata9
Why Metadata?

What other functions can be supported?

•Verification of authenticity

•Intellectual property rights management


•Authentication and authorization

•Personalization and localization of services

metadata discovery
Metadata Discovery

Where can metadata be found?

  • Within a resource
  • Directly linked to the resource
  • Detached from resource
metadata can be found
Metadata can be found…

Within a resource

  • Title page and table of contents (books)
  • META tags in document headers (Web pages)
  • ID3 metadata (MP3)
  • "file properties" (office documents)
  • EXIF data (images)
metadata can be found12
Metadata can be found…

Directly linked to the resource

•Using the Link rel="meta" elements (Web pages)

<link rel="meta" href="index.php.rdf" />

Links web page to other metadata formats: Dublin Core, RDF, IEEE LOM, etc

RDF Document

Web Page


Metadata can be found…

Independently managed in a separate database; can be linked by identifiers

•This is the most common approach






Web Resource

Archival Object



metadata for a manuscript
Metadata for a Manuscript

Dublin Core metadata:


publisher: University of Tennessee Libraries

format: image/jpeg

format: manuscript

title: Letter, John Shrady in Knoxville, Tenn., to Jeannie Lockhart

description: In this letter, dated December 25, 1863 from Knoxville, Tenn., to "My Own Darling," John Shrady, a regimental surgeon, describes his journey to Knoxville, Tenn via Chattanooga. Additionally, he discusses the probability that he will get an appointment in a hospital, pointing out that the "facilities" are not generally in good shape.

subject: Knoxville (Tenn.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

creator: Shrady, John

relation: Finding Aid: 1436; John Shrady Letters; Special Collections Library, The University of Tennessee

rights: For rights relating to this resource, visit

Archival Object


Functions of metadata

Popular Categorizations

  • Descriptive
  • Administrative
  • Structural
  • Other typologies of metadata
    • Asset/Use/Subject/Relation
    • Integration/Semantic
cornell university library metadata
Cornell University Library & Metadata
  • EAD archival finding aids with RMC & Kheel Center
  • VIVO’s semantic metadata
  • Publisher-supplied e-journal metadata
  • MARC records in Voyager
  • Project Euclid subscription-level and issue-level metadata
  • VRA Core metadata with Visual Resources Collections
  • TEI Lite conversion scheme with Hearth Project
  • Etc….
descriptive metadata
Descriptive Metadata
  • Descriptive of the intellectual content
  • Discovery, identification, selection, collocation, acquisition

Sample elements:

  • unique identifiers (PURL, Handle)
  • physical attributes (media, dimensions condition)
  • bibliographic attributes (title, author/creator, language, keywords)
descriptive metadata18
Descriptive Metadata

Sample implementations:

  • Dublin Core
  • MARC
  • HTML Meta Tags


  • EAD (Encoded Archival Description)
  • TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) Header
  • METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard)
  • MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema) – MARC-21-based.
administrative metadata
Administrative Metadata
  • Technical (file size, resolution, format)
  • Digital Rights Management (authentication, access)
  • Preservation (provenance)

Sample elements:

  • Light source
  • Owner
  • Copyright date
  • Copying and distribution limitations
  • License information
  • Preservation activities
  • Scanner type and model
  • Image resolution
  • Bit depth
  • Color space
  • File format
  • Compression
administrative metadata21
Administrative Metadata

Sample implementations:

  • MOA2, Administrative Metadata Elements
  • National Library of Australia, Preservation Metadata for Digital Collections
  • Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies (PREMIS)
  • International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) Core
administrative metadata22
Administrative Metadata


structural metadata
Structural Metadata

Defining components of information, like a “binder” for information objects

Sample elements:

  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Chapters or parts
  • Errata
  • Index
  • sub-object relationship (e.g., photograph from a diary)
  • Movement markings or section letters (scores)
  • Track listings (audio recordings)
structural metadata24
Structural Metadata

Sample implementations:

  • Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
  • MOA2, Structural Metadata Elements
  • Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS)
semantic metadata
Semantic metadata


  • Metadata that describe contextually relevant or domain-specific information about content (in the right context) based on a domain specific metadata model (e.g., industry-specific or enterprise specific) or ontology is known as semantic metadata.
  • Semantic metadata annotates or enhances information
semantic metadata27
Semantic metadata


  • Cornell’s VIVO
  • Semantic metadata in the business domain could be:
    • company name, ticker symbol, industry, sector, executives, etc.,
  • Semantic metadata in the intelligence domain could be:
    • terrorist name, event, location, organization, etc.

Metadata that offer greater depth and more insight ‘about the information falls under the semantic metadata category.

semantic metadata28
Semantic metadata

BEA Systems and PeopleSoft all engage

in the "competes with" relationship with Oracle

Image from

metadata building blocks
Metadata building blocks
  • The basic unit of metadata is a statement.
  • A statement consists of a property(aka, element) and avalue.
    • a resource that has a name and is used to describe a specific aspect, characteristic, attribute or relation used to describe a resource. 
    • Since a property is a resource, a property can have properties, but most of the time we are only really interested in the name.
  • Metadata statements describe resources.
    • Resources are anything that can be uniquely identified 
    • A Resource may be part of a web page or even a whole collection of pages
      • From DC 2006, Manzanillo, Colima, 3 Oct 2006 Kurth, Basic DC Semantics, slide 7;
metadata building blocks30
Metadata building blocks
  • A specific resource together with a named property plus a value of that property for that resource is an statement
  • From DC 2006, Manzanillo, Colima, 3 Oct 2006, Kurth, Basic DC Semantics, slide 8;
metadata building blocks31
Metadata building blocks

What are the properties and values in these metadata statements?

Example 2:

<title>View of Ithaca Gorge</title>


Example 1:

245 00 $a Mann Library Chats in the Stacks

$h [electronic resource]

metadata building blocks32
Metadata building blocks
  • A specific resource together with a named property plus a value of that property for that resource is an statement





metadata scheme
Metadata Scheme


  • “a set of metadata elements and rules for their uses that has been defined for a particular purpose” --(Caplan, 2003)
  • A set of metadata elements and the rules for using it.
  • “A collection of metadata elements gathered to support a function, or a series of functions (e.g., resource discovery, administration, use, etc.), for an information object.” –(Greenberg, 2005)
metadata schemas initiatives
Metadata Schemas & Initiatives
  • CDWA (Categories for the Description of Works of Art)
  • Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)
  • EAD (Encoded Archival Description)
  • FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM)
  • LOM (Learning Object Metadata)
  • METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard)
  • MIX (Metadata for Images in XML Schema)
  • MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema)
  • TEI (Text Encoding Initiative)
  • VRA (Visual Resources Association) Core Categories
  • etc….
related to metadata schemas
Related to metadata schemas
  • Namespace is a unique place to contextualize elements and to avoid element name conflicts
      • Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1 []
      • Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus []
  • Syntax is the rules for encoding the elements or technical implementation
      • XML, SGML, MARC
  • Content Rules define selection and representation of the elements
      • Cataloging rules like AACR2
  • Semantics is the basic meaning of the metadata elements
      • Definition of author
application profile
Application Profile
  • Definition: An application profile is an assemblage of metadata elements selected from one or more metadata schemas and combined in a compound schema.
      • SOURCE: Duval, E., et al. Metadata Principles and Practicalities, D-Lib Magazine, April 2002,

Schema 1





Schema 2



application profile37
Application Profile

Subsets of metadata elements implemented by a particular group

  • METS profile for primary textual resources
  • ETD-MS, Dublin Core for ETDs
  • Particular Library’s Application Profile for Digital Collections
application profile38
Application Profile

KMODDL Application Profile

  • Specifies the elements, refinements and encoding schemes used by The Kinematic Models for Design Digital Library (KMODDL) for its metadata records
application profile39
Application Profile

Identifying desired metadata elements for the collection

  • What are the desired elements?
  • Is there an explanation and description of the element?
  • Do you have an example?
  • Is the implementation mandatory or optional? Repeatable?
  • What common or core data is needed?
  • What data do your various user groups need?
  • What established data standards (e.g.,MARC, EAD, CDWA)

might fit the information needs of your institution?

  • What data do you intend to “deliver” to your various end-user groups?
  • Relationship and dependency specification
application profile40
Application Profile
  • Decision for value spaces:

content and value specifications, vocabularies

    • What is the element’s name and how do you define its value?
  • Agent – vra.agent
  • Title – vra.title
  • Language – dc.language
  • Collection Type – cu.collectiontype
      • Agent
      • --Yes, name authority
      •  Local & LC Name Authority
      • --Yes, by rule
      •  Personal: Last, M. First
      • Organization: Bigger unit, smaller unit
      • --No

Facilitating interoperability

  • Using defined metadata schemes, shared transfer protocols, and crosswalks between schemes, resources across the network can be searched more seamlessly.
    • Cross-system search, e.g., using Z39.50 protocol;
    • Metadata harvesting, e.g., OAI protocol.
        • Source: NISO. (2004) Understanding Metadata.Bethesda, MD: NISO Press, pp.1-2.
crosswalking metadata
Crosswalking Metadata

Definition of crosswalk:

  • Technical & semantic mapping of elements from one metadata framework to another metadata framework
  • "a set of transformations applied to the content of elements in a source metadata standard that results in the storage of appropriately modified content in the analogous elements of a target metadata standard."
    • Source: NISO White Paper, October 1998
crosswalking metadata43
Crosswalking Metadata

Example from, page 12

crosswalking metadata44
Crosswalking Metadata

655_7 |a Photographs |2 aat







Dublin Core

crosswalking metadata45
Crosswalking Metadata

Excel Spreadsheet

MARC Catalog Record




EAD Record

METS Record

creation and tools
Creation and tools

Categories of Creation Tools

  • Templates
  • Mark-up tools
  • Extraction tools
  • Conversion tools
creation and tools47
Creation and tools

Software Specific Template

Fill in the individual values for each metadata element

Greenstone Digital Library Software

creation and tools48
Creation and tools

Metadata Mark-up Tools

Create metadata using an

XML editor

oXygen XML editor

creation and tools49
Creation and tools

Metadata Extraction Tools

Web page URL or file location goes


National Library of New Zealand’s Preservation Metadata Extraction Tool

creation and tools50
Creation and tools
  • Examples of Metadata Creation Tools
    • Dublin Core tools
    • National Library of New Zealand’s Preservation Metadata Extraction Tool

    • TEI Software
    • Customized Templates for EAD-Encoded Finding Aids
    • EAD Tools & Helper Files

creation and tools51
Creation and tools
  • Examples of Metadata Creation Tools

FGDC Metadata Tools


Metadata Software Tools


OAI-Specific Tools


RDF Editors and Tools


Visit our new Metadata Services Department web site





[unique string]







[unique string]








dc:subject [uncontrolled vocabulary]


dc:subject [uncontrolled vocabulary]


dc:subject [uncontrolled vocabulary]


dc:subject [uncontrolled vocabulary]


dc:subject [uncontrolled vocabulary]


dc:subject [encoding: msc2000]


dc:subject [encoding: msc2000]


dc:subject [encoding: msc2000]




Exercise 2: Metadata for Image Files

Above: “Scan ID #00467” from the Billie Jean Isbell Andean Collection


Exercise 2: Final Output in Luna Web Interface

Title: Qoricancha exterior wall

Date: 1981

Subjects: Archaeological sites

Subject (local): Inka astronomy; Temple of the Sun; Inka observations of the zenith passage of the sun

Culture: Quechua

Locality: Coricancha Temple Site; Qoricancha Temple Site; Qorikancha Temple Site; Temple of the Sun Site

Region: Peru

Province: Cuzco

Description: The exterior wall of the Temple of the Sun in Cuzco.

Citation: Billie Jean Isbell Andean Collection, Images from the Andes: Collection Highlights: Zenith Link

Citation: Isbell, Billie Jean. “Culture Confronts Nature in the Dialectical World of the Tropics.” In Ethno-Astronomy and Archaeo-Astronomy in the American Tropics, edited by A. F. Aveni and G. Urton. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 385 (1982): 353-363.URL:

Image Identifier: ISB_00467

Production: digital imaging, Digital Consulting and Production Services, Cornell University Library (Ithaca, NY, USA)

Production: photographers, Isbell, Billie Jean

Image Copyright: This digital collection and its contents are owned and operated by the Cornell University Library. Digital reproductions are provided for private study, scholarship, and research use only and may not be downloaded for use in electronic or print publications (including websites), exhibitions or broadcasts, without permission. For more information, see: Cornell University Library Copyright Statement.

Collection: Billie Jean Isbell Andean Collection