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Digitizing - Metadata

In order to boost accessibility and to aid in preservation, you will need to collect and store metadata with the web content you collect.  Look into collecting and storing administrative, structural, and descriptive metadata.


Take action

  • Determine the kinds of metadata you will collect
  • Choose the metadata model you will use
  • Decide how to capture and/or create the metadata
  • Cornell University Library.  "Metadata."  Chap. 5 in Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging Tutorial, 2000-2004.  Includes a definition, an explanation of the types of metadata and their functions, and a link to a detailed table summarizing the goals, elements, and sample implementations of the three categories of metadata. -- not sure why this is in the Take action section (CB)



  • Library of Congress.  "Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard (METS)."  Last updated June 7, 2012.
    Provides technical documentation, community building and news pages for this standard for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata regarding objects within a digital library.
  • Research Libraries Group.  "Descriptive Metadata Guidelines for RLG Cultural Materials."  Mountain View, CA: RLG, 2005.
    To ensure that the digital collections submitted to RLG Cultural Materials can be discovered and understood, RLG has compiled these Descriptive Metadata Guidelines for contributors.  While these guidelines reflect the needs of one particular service, they also represent a case study in information sharing across community and national boundaries.
  • "Dublin Core Metadata Initiative."  Last updated June 14, 2012.
    Includes sections on Metadata Basics and DCMI Specifications.
  • Research Libraries Group. PREMIS Web Site. (PREservation Metadata Implementation Strategies). [] -- not sure if this is necessary with the contents linked separately as follows (CB)
  • PREMIS Editorial Committee.  "PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata."  Version 2.0, March 2008.
    Includes a Data Dictionary, a comprehensive, practical resource for implementing preservation metadata in digital archiving systems that was largely based on a survey of about 70 organizations thought to be active in or interested in digital preservation.  The initial goal was creating an implementable set of "core" preservation metadata elements, with broad applicability within the digital preservation community.
  • Library of Congress.  "PREMIS Maintenance Activity."  Last updated June 11, 2012.
    This official web site maintains links to the original documentation and also posts updates and changes for PREservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies.
  • The Library of Congress Technical Standards for Digital Conversion of Text and Graphic Materials. December, 2006

  • Government Printing Office (GPO) FDsys Operational Specification for Converted Content (Version 3.3). February, 2006

  • Sutton, Shan C. (2012). Balancing Boutique-Level Quality and Large-Scale Production: The Impact of "More Product, Less Process" on Digitization in Archives and Special Collections. RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Cultural Heritage, 13, 50-63.

"The article examines the influence of More Products, Less Process (MPLP) on digitization practices and discusses how a major digitization project involving the John Muir Papers had decision making that reflects elements of the MPLP philosophy. It further analyzes how the minimalist metadara practices supported by MPLP require careful implementation with the context of evolving user expectations for locating information on the Web. It cites the relevance of MPLP to digitization in making user access paramount, embracing flexibility and expending greatest effort on the most deserving materials. It notes how the Muir Papers project shows how different series in the same collection can legitimately merit differing levels of image capture and description."

  • Eklund, Janice L. (2011). Cultural Objects Digitization Planning: Metadata Overview. Visual Resources Association Bulletin, 38, 1-19.

"This document offers an overview of image metadata types, applications, and best practice considerations for planning cultural object digitization projects." [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

  • Zhang, Jane, and Mauney, Dayne. (2013). When Archival Description Meets Digital Object Metadata: A Typological Study of Digital Archival Representation. American Archivist, 76, 174-195.

"The relationship between archival description and descriptive metadata of digital objects has not been explicitly discussed in the literature. The discussion will enhance our understanding of the relationship between archival context and digital content, a significant topic in a networked digital environment. The data collected in this study show that archivists have made conscious efforts to build connections between archival description (context) and digital items (content), and, as a result, distinct representation models have emerged from digital archival practice. However, at the level of integration of archival context and digital content in digital archival representation, archivists are challenged to achieve an ultimate goal of making digital archives more accessible and better contextualized in the digital world." [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


  • NDSAB Digitization Standards Charter (LOC)

Federal Agency Digitization Guidelines Still Image Digitization Working Group Charter July 17, 2008

  • Guidelines: Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials (Still Image Working Group)

"The Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials that can be reproduced by still images represents shared best practices followed by agencies participating in the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI).  This group is involved in a cooperative effort to develop common digitization guidelines for still image materials (such as textual content, maps, and photographic prints and negatives) found in cultural heritage institutions. This document draws substantially on the National Archives and Records Administration’s Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Records for Electronic Access: Creation of Production Master Files – Raster Images (June 2004), but has been revised and updated in several areas to reflect the current recommendations of the working group and to reflect changes that have occurred in the digitization field since 2004. These Guidelines were prepared by members of the working group during the winter of 2009-2010. Readers will find updated sections covering equipment and image performance metrics, quality management, and metadata in this revision."


  • "Metadata."  Appendix B in NINCH Guide to Good Practice.  National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage, October 2002. 

Provides a detailed description of the kinds of metadata and metadata standards that are of greatest importance to the cultural heritage sector. (click on Appendix B in the Table of Contents). 


  • Gill, Tony, Anne J. Gilliland, Maureen Whalen, and Mary S. Woodley.  "Introduction to Metadata: Setting the Stage."  Los Angeles, CA: Getty Research Institute, 2008.  Online Edition, Version 3.0 

Gives a general introduction to metadata and explains some of the key tools, concepts, and issues associated with using metadata to build authoritative, reliable, and useful digital resources.

  • "Understanding Metadata."  Bethesda, MD: NISO Press, 2004.  

Defines metadata and provides an overview of the various metadata schemes and element sets.


  • Lagoze, Carl and Sandra Payette.  “Metadata: Principles, Practices, & Challenges.”  Chap. 5 in Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives, edited by Anne R. Kenney and Oya Reiger, 84-100.  Mountain View, CA: Research Library Group, 2000.
This book discusses selection strategies, digital image creation, quality control, image management, use of metadata, rights management, access control, and preservation.


This report focuses on looking for criteria for distinguishing preservation metadata from other forms of metadata at a level somewhere above the descriptive/structural/administrative distinction.


Last updated on 09/26/13, 12:29 pm by emilykader



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