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Research Guides

Jackman Humanities Institute - Scholars in Residence - 2023

A library guide supporting research projects included in the JHI SiR 2020 program.

Why Metadata?

Metadata (data about data) are used to facilitate and support resource discovery, identification, the organization of resources, and the exchangeability of the data itself as well as the exchangeability of the resource or resources it represents.  Metadata also capture and provide important contextual details about a digital object, as not all resources are self-describing.


An example of metadata would be the various information that is available for a book in the library catalogue: 



Dublin Core Metadata Schema

Benefits of Metadata

There are numerous benefits of using metadata. They include:

1. Facilitating organization, indexing, discovery, access, and analysis of a variety of resources.

2. Give increase access to non-textual content. 

3. Assists greatly in research activities, in terms of discoverability. 

The Dublin Core Schema is a set of terms that can be used to describe digital resources such as images, video, web pages, sound, and so on. Dublin Core Schema consists of the 15 original metadata terms,  known as the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. You can read more about this on the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative website. It is considered to be a general purpose schema.

Relatively speaking, Dublin Core is fairly straightforward to learn and use. For your JHI SiR projects, you will be using and abbreviated version of Dublin Core. Please see the table below for descriptions of the elements, and how you will use them (including examples).

There are numerous Metadata Schemas that have been developed. Some of the most commonly used include: 

MODS - Stands for Metadata Object Description Schema. A general purpose schema that is considered to be richer than Dublin Core because it includes a broader range of elements. It is a schema for a bibliographic element set that may be used for various purposes, and especially for library applications. It is a standard that is maintained by the Library of Congress' Network Development and MARC Standards Office, with input from others.  

METS - Stands for Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard. It is a standard for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata regarding objects within a digital library, expressed using the XML schema language, and is also maintained by the Library of Congress.

There are also schemas that have been developed for particular subject areas. For an extensive list, please take a look at the The University of North Carolina's Libguide on Metadata