What is metadata?
Metadata can be defined literally as "data about data," but the term is normally understood to mean structured data about digital (and non-digital) resources that can be used to help support a wide range of operations. These might include, for example, resource description and discovery, the management of information resources (including rights management) and their long-term preservation. In the context of digital resources, there exists a wide variety of metadata formats. Viewed on a continuum of increasing complexity, these range from the basic records used by robot-based Internet search services, through relatively simple formats like the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) and the more detailed Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) header and MARC formats, to highly specific formats like the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Codebook
Michael Day's "Metadata in a nutshell" (2001).
Publications and Presentations
Projects and initiatives
We are participants in the following projects and initiatives which relate to metadata and resource description:
- DCMI Affiliate Programme
- Application Profiles Support Project [blog]
- Evaluating Automated Subject Tools Enhancing Retrieval (EASTER) project
- FixRep: Enabling Metadata Triage
- Knowledge Exchange CRIS-OAR project
- The Metadata Forum [blog]
- JISC Information Environment Metadata Schema Registry (IEMSR)
- JISC Information Environment Service Registry (IESR)
- SWORD: Simple Web service Offering Repository Deposit
- Writeslike.us project
The following projects primarily concern research data management, but also involve some consideration of metadata topics:
- Digital Curation Centre
- Engineering Research Information Management (ERIM) project
- Infrastructure for Integration in Structural Sciences (I2S2) project
- PEG-BOARD: Palæoclimate & Environment Data Generation - Building Open Access to Research Data
Summaries of related UKOLN activity areas:
The main focus of the metadata activity at UKOLN is to review current approaches to resource description and to look at future options for metadata in the wider contexts of resource discovery and the sustainable management of content.
Selected Past Projects
UKOLN has also been involved in the following completed projects and initiatives:
- ARCO: Augmented Representation of Cultural Objects
- eBank UK
- ePrints UK
- EPrints Application Profile
- agentcities.NET: Agent Cities Network
- AHDS and UKOLN Resource Discovery Workshops (1997)
- BIBLINK: Linking Publishers and National Bibliographic Services
- Cedars: CURL Exemplars in Digital Archives
- CORES: Shared Metadata Vocabularies Forum
- CORES Registry
- DELOS Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries
- DESIRE I: Development of a European Service for Information on Research and Education - Phase I
- DESIRE II: Development of a European Service for Information on Research and Education - Phase II
- DESIRE Metadata Registry
- EC Metadata Workshop (1997)
- FILTER metadata review
- HILT: High Level Thesaurus (Phase I)
- HILT II: High Level Thesaurus (Phase II)
- IMesh Toolkit: An architecture and toolkit for distributed subject gateways
- Knowledge and Information Management Through Life
- NewsAgent: Electronic news and current awareness for library and information staff
- OA-Forum: Open Archives Forum
- PRIDE: People and Resources Identification for Distributed Environments
- RDN/LTSM LOM Application Profile
- Renardus: Academic Subject Gateway Service Europe
- Renardus Consortium
- ROADS: Resource Organisation and Discovery in Subject-based Services
- RSLP Collection Description: enabling consistent collection description across Research Support Libraries Programme funded projects
- SCHEMAS: Forum for Metadata schema implementors
- SUETr: Start-up and Enhancement Training project [archived blog]
- TF-CHIC: Cooperative Hierarchical Indexing Coordination
- Links to metadata resources.
- Mapping between metadata formats.
- Some software tools for handling metadata.
- DC-dot - a Dublin Core generator.
- DC-assist - a metadata assistant.
- RSS-xpress - create, update and register your RSS channel(s).
- A glossary.
- Z-directory - a directory of UK Z39.50 targets.
- Collection Level Description and Collection Description Focus.