innovation in metadata design, implementation & best practices

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) Overview

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DCMI logo About Us

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) is an open organization managed as a project of ASIS&T, a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

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You can learn more about metadata and DCMI by exploring the pages listed in the menu bar above: the Home page, Metadata Basics, Specifications, Community and Events, and About Us (this page).

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DCMI logo Mission and Principles

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) supports shared innovation in metadata design and best practices across a broad range of purposes and business models.

DCMI does this by:

DCMI's principles of operation are:

  • Open consensus building: Participation in the DCMI community is open to all interested groups or individuals with expertise or interests in metadata. DCMI de facto standards, specifications and best practice documents reflect consensus arrived at through consultative debate and review. No fees are assessed for use of such information, inasmuch as the value of such materials is enhanced by their wide adoption.

  • International scope and participation: DCMI arose in the 1990s from an informal workshop series that attracted participation of a world-wide community. DCMI has been committed from the start to global participation, as exemplified by a wide array of translations, the location of Dublin Core conferences and regional meetings, and the diversity of regional representation among the DCMI Members and in the Oversight Committee and Advisory Board.

  • Neutrality of purposes and business models: DCMI is neutral as to the purposes for which DCMI de facto metadata standards and specifications might be used. DCMI encourages the adoption of these standards and specifications in the public and private sectors and in further de jure standardization that does not jeopardize open access.

  • Neutrality of technology: DCMI de facto standards are fundamentally concerned with semantics—the meaning of assertions about information resources. The technological infrastructure underpinning the encoding and expression of these semantics is expected to evolve with time. DCMI attempts to maintain independence of agreed-upon semantics, and to facilitate the expression of these semantics in encoding idioms appropriate to the active stakeholders of the initiative.

  • Cross disciplinary focus: Since its early days in the mid-1990s, DCMI's founding principle has been the discovery and management of resources through metadata across the boundaries of information silos on the Web and within intranets.

DCMI logo Membership Programs

DCMI Members support the work of DCMI, participate in its governance, and receive benefits such as access to content, discounts for events, and visibility. DCMI is an organization committed to the development and open availability of resources that support a healthy global metadata ecosystem. Annual membership dues by DCMI members play a significant role in ensuring that DCMI continues to advance this commitment to support innovation in metadata design and best practice. Regional Members and Institutional Members help shape DCMI by: (1) bringing their institutional perspectives to the work agenda of the Initiative through active participation on the governing Oversight Committee; and (2) supporting the efforts of an international community of volunteer metadata experts. Supporting Members (private-sector companies and foundations) and Individual Members (interested individuals and students) support DCMI and enjoy membership benefits without formal duties related to governance.

The work of DCMI requires dedicated, paid effort funded through the annual contributions of DCMI members. These paid efforts include:

« More membership information »

DCMI logo Governance

The governance and operation structure of DCMI is formalized through a set of by-laws defining the membership, responsibilities, selection and appointment process, terms, decision process, communication and documentation, and reporting procedures for all committees.

DCMI Organizational Chart

  • Governing Board> The Governing Board manages the affairs of DCMI and performs the duties usually performed by the board of directors of a corporation. These duties include providing direction for the general management of the Initiative, oversight of the DCMI Directorate, stewardship of DCMI's finances, approval of DCMI bylaws, and a broad remit to shape the strategic direction of DCMI and formulate DCMI policies in consultation with the Advisory and Technical Boards. The Governing Board also contributes to the promotion of the Initiative through liaisons with the public and private sectors. In addition to chairing the Governing Board, the Chair serves as chair of the Executive Committee and presides over the DCMI. > > Committees: Members & Finance DCMI logo Nominations & Bylaws
  • Technical Board> The Technical Board is the organizational body that ensures the publication and maintenance of DCMI technical and semantic specifications in accordance with DCMI policy. These include specifications to which DCMI has made a long-term maintenance commitment, adaptations of DCMI specifications published by formal standards organizations, and specifications published as products of DCMI communities. The Technical Board serves as the primary advisory body for DCMI for matters pertinent to the Board's charge. > > Committees: Usage DCMI logo Standards & Liaisons DCMI logo Community Specifications
  • Advisory Board> The Advisory Board is the organizational body that advances DCMI's work through engagement with DCMI community members and liaising with other initiatives that have shared, metadata-related interests. For the Initiative, the Advisory Board serves as the primary advisory body for DCMI for matters pertinent to the Board's charge and also as a broad-based sounding board for DCMI on issues deemed of significant importance to the Initiative, its members, and stakeholders.

DCMI logo Administration & Management

  • Executive Committee> The Executive Committee, comprised of the chairs and chairs-elect of DCMI's three boards, has two general purposes: (1) to represent the interests, concerns and agenda of their respective boards in collaborative Committee deliberations and decision-making; and (2) to provide a means for routine DCMI management decisions to be made without the full convening of the members' respective boards while maintaining the authority of the boards.
  • Directorate> The Directorate consists of compensated directors who support the Executive Committee and DCMI's three Boards through the provision of specific services in areas such as financial management, required reporting, and the development and execution of DCMI activities. The exact roles of directors may change from time to time depending on the administrative and programmatic needs and resources of DCMI. > > Committees: Conferences & Meetings DCMI logo Education & Outreach

DCMI logo The Community

  • Communities and Task Groups> Communities and Task Groups provide discussion and cooperation platforms for specific communities (e.g., education, government information, corporate knowledge management) or specific interests (e.g., technical architecture, accessibility). Read more...

DCMI logo Web site, policies, software, logo, banner

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

DCMI seeks to attract the individuals and organizations worldwide interested in collaborating on metadata standards as well as the design and development of enabling metadata technologies. To this end, the DCMI has established the following policies.

Over the years, DCMI has developed several software applications to generate and manage machine-readable representations of metadata: a metadata registry application (in Full and Lite versions), a Vocabulary Management Tool, and a tool for extracting structured representations of application profiles from MoinMoin wiki pages. The source code for these software applications is freely available for interested users under DCMI open source licenses.

The DCMI logo consists of a central sphere, representing the core of the Initiative. The inner surrounding spheres represent the original 15 core data elements available in the DCMI Metadata Element Set (ISO standard 15836). The outer spheres represent an interpreted and extended element set.

The following banner is provided in the GIF file format for use by members of the public who wish to include them on a Web site:

Dublin Core Used Here

No special permission is required from the DCMI to reproduce this image. However, the banner must be linked directly to the DCMI Web site at < >.

Please let us know if you are using this banner on a web site by sending a message with your name and the URL of the web site to the address listed on the feedback page.


DCMI's work is supported, promoted and improved by Member organizations around the world:

  • The National Library of Finland
  • The National Library of Korea
  • The National Library Board Singapore
  • MIMOS Berhad
  • Shanghai Library logo
  • Simmons College (USA)
  • ZBW - German National Library of Economics
  • Information School of the University of Washington
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Göttingen State and University Library
  • Research Center for Knowledge Communities, Tsukuba University
  • Infocom Corporation (Japan)