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HomeDublin Core and Item Type Metadata descriptions

Dublin Core and Item Type Metadata descriptions

This page is an explanation of the Dublin Core and Item Type Metadata terms that need to be filled in when adding items to a collection.  Not all terms need to be filled in because not all the terms may be relevant to the item you are adding. There is, however, basic information that should be added for each item to adequately describe it.  You can look at items in other collections to see how other libraries fill in the metadata information.  Boxes that are not filled in will not appear to the public.


The basic Dublin Core metadata terms include: title, subject, description, contributor, rights, format and type.  Below is a brief description of each. 


The TITLE gives a name to the item. It can be the title of a document, the name or names of persons or an object in a photograph or what an object is called. The title can be a brief description of the item.


The DESCRIPTION gives a more detailed explanation of the item that can include the history or background information about the item. If this information is not known, a descriptive title can take the place of a description.  For example, if you have a photograph of an unknown woman in a red coat from a time period that you recognize, you could give the title as "woman wearing red coat in the 1920's". That would take care of the title and description.


The SUBJECT term asks you to include subject terms that can be used to help searchers find your collection items.  These can be formal subjects that the Library of Congress or other authoritative subject term sources. Go to the website below and put in a subject term to see what they recommend.

**If you have keywords that you want to be able to search that don't fit into a subject category, add them as 'tags' on the last metadata page. The tag words are all searchable.**


The CREATOR term is the author, editor, photographer, originating organization or artist, etc.  Names of creators should list the last name first, followed by a comma, and then the first name. (Smith, Charles M). If you don't know who the creator is, put "unknown" in the box.


The DATE is when the item was created or published.  If you know the year and month and day that the item was created, use this format - yyyy-mm-dd -  2011-02-16 (February 16, 2011).  You can also use just the year or the month and year.  If you are not sure of the date, but know an approximate one, you can fill in 1890?  or circa 1890. A date range is also acceptable - 1910-1920.


The FORMAT can include a description of the original item including the physical dimensions and format  such as a black and white photograph and the size of the photo.


CONTRIBUTORS can be secondary editors or authors or agencies or individuals who have contributed to the creation of the item.  If there are none, leave the box blank.


RIGHTS refers to a copyright statement for your institution. You can use one that you already have. You need to make sure that you have permission to scan the materials and make them available online.


The TYPE refers to the general object format.  Is it a text document, a still image (photograph), or a map? The type of item will also be important when you go to the next page with item type metadata. You will be asked to select the item type which dictates another list of metadata terms that can be filled in.


ITEM TYPE METADATA is a second set of metadata boxes that need to be filled in where applicable. Here are the main ones. 


The FILE NAME is the name of the digital image file. if you need to return to the original digita  file later on, you need to know the name of the file and where you stored it so you will be able to find it.


The REPOSITORY is the name of the organization that houses the original item.


The REPOSITORY COLLECTION there may be a special collection classification title at the owner institution where the item is stored, it can be named here for reference.


CONTACT INFORMATION includes institutional contact information when a user has questions about the item or would like to make a copy of it.


DIGITAL REPRODUCTION INFORMATION is a statement of how the item was digitally reproduced including the scanner, software used, hardware, resolution, format, File size, number of pixels, etc


DIGITAL ITEM CREATED is the date when the item was scanned.


NOTES is a field for adding additional information about the item or where it is stored that does not seem to fit anywhere else if you have more information that you think should be added.


TRANSCRIPT this field applies to text documents. If you have a hand written document that is hard to read, you may want to type in the text here so that it is easier to read or use optical character recognition for a typed document that can be copied and pasted here. This is optional.