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Digitisation Projects: Metadata

This guide outlines the various options available to those undertaking digitisation projects, considering the entire workflow from planning, hosting, copyright, digital imaging, metadata, software, web publishing tools etc.

Metadata is a Love Note to the Future

What Metadata Do You Have For These Items?

  • What is metadata? Metadata is a form of documentation that describes the content of your resources, as well as the nature of the digital files themselves. It is structured information, conforming to a set of standards and is machine readable. As such, metadata creates catalogue records that help users to discover your materials and in turn helps to raise the visibility of your collection.


  • What descriptive metadata do you have? We recommend that you collect as much “descriptive” metadata as possible as you go along. (It will be very time-consuming to do this retrospectively). Descriptive metadata includes common fields such as title, author, abstract, subject / keywords, dates.  If the collection is to be deposited in UCD Digital Library, we can advise you on the key fields for your collection.


  • What preservation level metadata do you have? Also consider the need for preservation metadata — this is information that documents the condition of the item or “object” at the time of digitisation, and what methods, equipment, software were used, and what changes were made to provide the files online. Again, if the collection is to be deposited in UCD Digital Library,   we can advise you on the key fields for your collection and provide you with a template.

Metadata Standards

Metadata Standards provide specific data fields or elements to be used in describing data for a particular use.

A common and widely-used standard is the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. This is a vocabulary of fifteen properties for use in resource description. The name "Dublin" is due to its origin at a 1995 invitational workshop in Dublin, Ohio; "core" because its elements are broad and generic, usable for describing a wide range of resources.

Tools such as Omeka (see details of Omeka on this guide's software page) utilise the Dublin Core standard.

Useful Resources