innovation in metadata design, implementation & best practices

Organization of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)

Principles and Operation of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is an open, international, consensus-driven association of metadata practitioners motivated by the desire to make it easier for people to find information resources using the Internet. This document describes the principles, organizational elements, and processes of DCMI.


Principles of Operation

The diversity of DCMI participants is great, spanning more than 50 countries, and representing many sectors, including governments, libraries, museums, archives, commercial enterprises, research and education communities, and more. Finding common ground and consensus amid such diversity is an ongoing challenge. DCMI has, since its inception, retained the interest of such a community through adherence to the principles of operation enumerated here.


Organizational Elements of DCMI

The work of DCMI is conducted largely by participants who contribute their time and expertise to advance the mission of the initiative. Most are member of organizations with a natural stake in the success of world-wide information discovery, and participate in order to advance that interest. The work of the initiative is organized and managed by a small staff with formal DCMI responsibilities — the DCMI Directorate. The work of the Directorate is overseen by a Board of Trustees and receives input from the Advisory Board of experts as well as feedback from comments that may come from any part of the community. The DCMI Usage Board is a group appointed to review proposals for new elements, refinements for existing elements, and application profiles that specify a given domain of usage for DCMI metadata, possibly in combination with other metadata standards. Each of these organizational elements is described in greater length below.


DCMI Oversight Committee

The DCMI Oversight Committee oversees the activities of the DCMI and its Directorate. It advises the Directorate on strategic issues and allocation of financial resources, contributes to the promotion of the Initiative through liaisons with the public and private sectors and assists in securing support for the Initiative. The current Board members are based in various parts of the world (North America, Europe, Asia) and have a strong mix of backgrounds (libraries, education, information science, commerce, consultancy, international organizations and foundations). The Oversight Committee generally meets face-to-face once yearly and additionally via teleconferences as appropriate.


DCMI Directorate

The role of the DCMI Directorate is to supervise the management and coordination of all DCMI activities, establish strategic directions, oversee liaison activities, the annual Conference, and otherwise promote adoption and evolution of Dublin Core metadata. The Directorate consists of one or more Directors as necessary for the performance of the activities that DCMI undertakes.


DCMI Advisory Board

The DCMI Advisory Board (DC-AB) is comprised of people involved in the management of specific activities and invited experts. The Advisory Board gives advice to the DCMI Directorate on all technical and strategic issues that occur during the operation of the DCMI. It has a dual role in the DCMI: an internal role to assist in and advise on the developments that take place within DCMI, and an external role to liaise with the stakeholder community and other global metadata initiatives. It has an important role in reviewing charters and activities with specific emphasis on recognizing and signaling potential conflicts between activities, suggesting specific coordination between different groups, and proposing specific contacts with individuals, groups or organizations outside DCMI.


DCMI Usage Board

The DCMI Usage board is a committee appointed by the DCMI Directorate, and chartered to ensure the orderly evolution of the metadata terms maintained by DCMI. The Usage Board evaluates proposals for new terms (or changes to existing terms) in light of grammatical principle, semantic clarity, usefulness, and overlap with existing terms. To proposals that are accepted it assigns a specific status. The Usage Board also evaluates constructs that use DCMI terms, such as Application Profiles. The Usage Board strives for consensus, justifying its decisions and interpretations in terms both of principle and of empirical practice.


DCMI Work Structure

There are three types of groups that constiture the work structure of DCMI: The DCMI Architecture Forum, DCMI Communities and DCMI Task Groups. These groups are listed on the overview page of the DCMI Communities and Task Groups. The procedures of these groups are described in the document Operational aspects of DCMI Work structure: Communities and Task Groups. Participation in these groups is open to all DCMI participants with the interest, expertise, and time to contribute to the solution of problems.

The approval processes related to various types of documents published and maintained by DCMI is described in “Procedure for approval of proposals by DCMI””.


DCMI Workshop and Conference Series

Since 1995, the Dublin Core Workshop Series has attracted experts from numerous information-based communities to participate in the evolution and maintenance of Dublin Core metadata. The goal of the DCMI workshops is to promote consensus within the larger metadata community while incorporating the combined wisdom and collective experience of the DCMI's membership into the design of metadata elements, related refinements, and discipline-specific extensions, all within a coherent architecture that supports world-wide information discovery.

In 2001, the Workshop format was broadened to include a tutorial track and a conference paper/poster track in addition to the working meetings that characterized the earlier workshops. Currently the venue for the annual conference is rotated among North America, Europe, and Austral-Asia to promote world-wide participation.


The DCMI Web Site

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Web Site is the major public entry point to the Dublin Core and the formal repository for all DCMI documentation, including current and past activities and meetings.


Mailing Lists

The DC-General mailing list has served as the central forum for DCMI issues since the second Dublin Core workshop. The list continues to be the primary venue for broad community discussion of DCMI recommendations and announcements of planned DCMI events.

Additional mailing lists are maintained for all specific activities carried out by DCMI.


DCMI Process Documentation

Links to DCMI Process Documents are available from the DCMI Documents page.


DCMI Standards

DCMI promotes the adoption of standardized approaches to metadata and the architectures which support the creation and exchange of interoperable metadata. As evidence of this, DCMI metadata has successfully pursued standardization in various national and international standards venues, including

In addition to these efforts, DC has been incorporated into, or acknowledged by, a variety of national standards and government metadata initiatives. DCMI will continue to work towards broad international recognition of consensus based metadata agreements that support the goal of world-wide metadata interoperability.