A review of metadata: a survey of current resource description formats
Work Package 3 of Telematics for Research project DESIRE (RE 1004)
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The EEVL Metadata Format

Environment of Use

Constituency of use

The Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library (EEVL) is a project funded by eLib (the Electronic Libraries Programme) in the UK to provide an Internet gateway to quality information resources in Engineering, (see EELS for an engineering subject service based in Sweden).Whilst the metadata format that EEVL is using is specific to the project there does not appear to be an alternative international standard format being used within the Engineering community.


Information about the EEVL project can be found at <URL:http://www.eevl.ac.uk>. An example of a completed record can be found in <URL:http://www.eevl.ac.uk/pub3.html>.

Ease of creation

The format consists of a template with twenty two attributes that have been chosen specifically to describe networked resources. The creation of records for the project is performed via a WWW interface and many of the administrative fields are assigned automatically.

Progress toward international standardisation

The format was developed in-house for use by the EEVL project. However a conscious effort was made to ensure that most of the fields map directly over to the IAFA format to allow interoperability with other eLib subject gateways using IAFA within the ROADS software.

Format Issues


The format of the template is a simple ASCII record of twenty two attribute/value pairs.

Basic descriptive elements

Bibliographic type elements consist of:

There is a subject descriptor field with a selection of descriptors based loosely around the Ei (Engineering Information Inc) classification scheme (multiple types are supported).


There is a specific field for URL. This is a multi line text box that allows multiple URLs to be input. Where multiple URLs exist however there is no facility for matching a URL to other details such as authentication or contact.

Resource format and technical characteristics

The resource type options are:

There is no provision for recording technical characteristics, although there is a free text field for authentication details.

Host administrative details

There is a free text field for a contact email address for the person/organisation responsible for the resource.

Administrative metadata

The administrative information about the metadata is automatically assigned and includes:



Terms of availability

A free text field for registration details for the resource if general access is not available.


The template uses a simple attribute/value pair scheme.

Multilingual issues

No specific provision for other languages.

Ability to represent relationships between objects



The template covers descriptive elements of a resource well, however it does not deal with the concept of variants of a resource - e.g. the same resource being available from different sites and having different administrative information. It also not able to represent relationships between resources.

Protocol Issues

Planning to move to whois++.


The format is designed specifically for the EEVL project. The project is currently in a pilot phase and the service is being tested by six UK universities.

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Last updated: 10-Jun-1998