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Title:

Using Dublin Core

Creator:
Diane Hillmann
Date Issued:
2000-07-16
Identifier:
http://dublincore.org/documents/2000/07/16/usageguide/sectb.shtml
Replaces:
Not applicable
Is Replaced By: Not applicable
Is Part Of:
http://dublincore.org/documents/2000/07/16/usageguide/
Latest Version:
http://dublincore.org/documents/usageguide/
Status of Document:
This is a DCMI Working Draft.
Description of Document: This document is intended as an entry point for users of Dublin Core. For non-specialists, it will assist them in creating simple descriptive records for information resources (for example, electronic documents). Specialists may find the document a useful point of reference to the documentation of Dublin Core, as it changes and grows.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Introduction

2. Which Syntax?

3. Basic Principles of Descriptive Elements

4. The Core Elements

5. Qualifiers

6. Examples

8. Glossary

9. Background Reading and References


4. The Core Elements: Content

Content
Intellectual Property
Instantiation
Coverage
Contributor
Date
Description
Creator
Format
Type
Publisher
Identifier
Relation
Rights
Language
Source
Subject
Title

In the element descriptions below, a formal single-word label is specified to make the syntactic specification of elements simpler for encoding schemes. Although some environments, such as HTML, are not case-sensitive, it is recommended best practice always to adhere to the case conventions in the element names given below to avoid conflicts in the event that the metadata is subsequently converted to a case-sensitive environment, such as XML/RDF.

Some information may appear to belong in more than one metadata element. While there will normally be a clear preferred choice, there is potential semantic overlap between some elements. Consequently, there will occasionally be some judgment required from the person assigning the metadata.

4.1. Title

Label: Title

Element Description: The name given to the resource. Typically, a Title will be a name by which the resource is formally known.

Guidelines for creation of content:

If in doubt about what constitutes the title, repeat the Title element and include the variants in second and subsequent Title iterations. If the item is in HTML, view the source document and make sure that the title identified in the title header is also include as a meta title (unless the DC metadata element is to be embedded in the document itself).

Qualifiers

Examples: [generic] [simple HTML] [qualified HTML] [simple RDF] [qualified RDF] [From other implementations]

4.2. Subject and Keywords

Label: Subject and Keywords

Element Description: The topic of the content of the resource. Typically, a Subject will be expressed as keywords or key phrases or classification codes that describe the topic of the resource. Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary or formal classification scheme.

Guidelines for creation of content:

Select subject keywords from either the Title or Description information. If the subject of the item is a person or an organization, use the same form of the name as you would if the person or organization were a Creator, but do not repeat the name in the Creator element.

In general, choose the most significant and unique words for keywords, avoiding those too general to describe a particular item. This element might well include classification data (for example, Library of Congress Classification Numbers or Dewey Decimal numbers) or controlled vocabularies (such as Medical Subject Headings or Art and Architecture Thesaurus descriptors) as well.

Qualifiers

Examples: [generic] [simple HTML] [qualified HTML] [simple RDF] [qualified RDF] [From other implementations]

4.3. Description

Label: Description

Element Description: An account of the content of the resource. Description may include but is not limited to: an abstract, table of contents, reference to a graphical representation of content or a free-text account of the content.

Guidelines for creation of content:

Since the description field is a potentially rich source of indexable vocabulary, care should be taken to provide this element when possible. Some metadata collections could include content description (spectral analysis of a visual resource, for example) that may not be embeddable in current network systems. In such a case this field might contain a link to such a description rather than the description itself.

Descriptive information can be taken from the item itself, if there is no abstract or other structured description available. Normally, if a Description cannot be found either in the introductory or front matter, or the first few paragraphs, it should be set up "on the fly" by the metadata provider. Normally, Description should be limited to a few brief sentences.

Qualifiers

Examples: [generic] [simple HTML] [qualified HTML] [simple RDF] [qualified RDF] [From other implementations]

4.4. Resource Type

Label: Resource Type

Element Description: The nature or genre of the content of the resource. Type includes terms desribing general categories, functions, genres, or aggregation levels for content. Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary (for example, the working draft list of Dublin Core Types [List of Resource Types. Dublin Core Draft Working Group Report, http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-type-vocabulary/]).

To describe the physical or digital manifestation of the resource, use the FORMAT element.

Guidelines for content creation:

If the resource has content of multiple mixed types then multiple or repeated Type elements should be used to describe the main components.

Qualifiers

Examples: [generic] [simple HTML] [qualified HTML] [simple RDF] [qualified RDF] [From other implementations]

4.5. Source

Label: Source

Element Description: A Reference to a resource from which the present resource is derived. The present resource may be derived from the Source resource in whole or part. Recommended best practice is to reference the resource by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system.

Guidelines for content creation:

In general, include in this area information which does not fit easily into Relation.

Examples: [generic] [simple HTML] [qualified HTML] [simple RDF] [qualified RDF]

4.6. Relation

Label: Relation

Element Description: A reference to a related resource. Recommended best practice is to reference the resource by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system.

Guidelines for content creation:

The recommended method for expressing a relationship in qualified DC is:

Title="the present resource"
Relation="relationship-type [space] unique identifer for the related resource"

where "relationship-type" is a token drawn from the approved list of qualifiers.

Note: In the case where the DC metadata is embedded in the present resource, the value for Identifier is implied (i.e. the present resource). In qualified DC the two components given in Relation here will be structured using sub-elements for easier automated processing.

Qualifiers

Examples: [generic] [simple HTML] [qualified HTML] [simple RDF] [qualified RDF] [AGLS] [EdNA]

4.7. Coverage

Label: Coverage

Element Description: The extent or scope of the content of the resource. Coverage will typically include spatial location (a place name or geographic co-ordinates), temporal perion (a period label, date, or date range) or jurisdiction (such as a named administrative entity). Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary (for example, the Thesaurus of Geographic Names [Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names, http://shiva.pub.getty.edu/tgn_browser/]) and that, where appropriate, named places or time periods be used in preference to numeric identifiers such as sets of co-ordinates or date ranges.

Guidelines for content creation:

Whether this element is used for spatial or temporal information, care should be taken to provide consistent information that can be interpreted by users. For most simple applications, where place names or coverage dates might be useful, whether the information is numeric or alphabetical may be enough to differentiate. For more complex applications, consideration should be given to additional qualification.

Qualifiers

Examples: [generic] [simple HTML] [qualified HTML] [simple RDF] [qualified RDF] [From other implementations]

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