Title: DC Subject and Description Working Group Review of RFC2413
Status: Report to DC Technical Advisory Group
New defintions for Subject and Description. The main changes are:
- Adoption of ISO 11179 representation
- Separation of "Definition" from "Comment"
- Ensuring definitions are not self-referential i.e. not allowing inclusion
of the defined term in the definition. So
in the Subject definition use of 'topic' rather than 'subject'; in the
Description definition use of 'account' rather than 'description'.
- Broadening the definitions to ensure they are not overly focused on
- removing 'textual' from the definition of description (was
- adding non-text example in comment on description (graphical
Name: Subject and Keywords
Definition: The topic of the resource
Datatype: Character String
Comment: Typically, subject will be expressed as keywords,
phrases or classmarks that describe the topic of the resource.
The use of controlled vocabularies and formal classification
schemes is encouraged.
Definition: An account of the content of the resource
Datatype: Character String; Binary string
Comment: The Description may include, but is not limited to: abstract,
table of contents, graphical representation of content,or a free-text
account of content. account of the content.
- It was suggested that ISO11179 is more suited to describing how metadata is
used in a particular implementation rather than for providing 'the
canonical definition'. Individual implementations may have limits on
obligation, datatypes and maximum occurrence which differ from the
canonical definition. Implementors may want to express these
implementation specific limits in ISO11179 format too. How will such
representations be identified?
- There is a need to produce an overall statement of the advantages of using
ISO 11179 for the DC community. The debate on the pros and cons of ISO 11179 needs to take
place in a wider forum than the WG's.
- It would be useful to have a list of datatypes which might be used
e.g. is a classmark a character string? what datatype is a graphical representation? I have assumed all are
character strings except 'graphical representation' for which I have added 'binary string'.
But maybe as there would always be a level of indirection if a value was a graphical representation
(where the data element contains a URL pointing to a graphical representation) then the
datatype should be character string as the content is a URL?
Existing RFC-2413 Definitions
Subject and Keywords
The topic of the resource. Typically, subject will be expressed as
keywords or phrases that describe the subject or content of the
resource. The use of controlled vocabularies and formal classification
schemes is encouraged.
A textual description of the content of the resource, including
abstracts in the case of document-like objects or content descriptions
in the case of visual resources.
Contact the DC Subject and Description Working Group at: