innovation in metadata design, implementation & best practices

Title: What is "Simple Dublin Core"?
See also:
Created: 2004-09-14
Agenda frozen: 2004-10-02 07:25, Saturday
Archived: 2004-11-10
Maintainer: Tom Baker
Note: If any of the links below are broken, please refer to 
                   the meeting packet
                   for copies of the key documents discussed at the meeting.

People still get confused by what constitutes "the Real Core"
-- if it is the DC-15, then why is Audience excluded? As Diane
has pointed out, the distinction between the namespaces and
the concepts of "Simple" and "Qualified" are at best an uneasy
mix of the legacy and the arbitrary.

We may not have time to discuss this issue in Shanghai, but I
am putting the following email digest into the meeting packet
because we should all be aware that this is an ongoing and
unresolved problem. Perhaps we could discuss it over dinner?

Some possibilities to consider:

-- "The Core" is the DC-15 plus all "recommended" elements.
-- Maybe we should assign an additional "Core" status.

Diane suggests that some up-front statement of our intentions
-- not a "FAQ", but something that appears prominently in our
documentation -- should be formulated to clarify these issues.

Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 17:13:04 -0400
From: "Rebecca S. Guenther" <rgue@LOC.GOV>
Subject: Re: Decision on type-specific terms

On scope of DCMI namespaces, I was asked a question that I couldn't
completely answer.

When an element becomes "recommended" rather than "conforming" is there
any implication that it becomes part of simple DC? I've always known the
answer to that as being no, but what that means is that for OAI harvesting
it can't be carried, since OAI harvesting uses simple DC. The question
comes up mainly (I think) with added elements rather than refinements. Do
we expect that the oai_dc schema cannot change if simple Dublin Core
cannot change?

Erin Stewart <erinste@MICROSOFT.COM> originally posted on February 17
to indicate she was dissatisfied with Diane's AskDCMI text:

Answer (to similar question): There are still 15 elements
in simple Dublin Core, those elements described in
the document at: <; All of these terms
are at the element level.

Audience is indeed a valid DC term, at the element level
(see <; ), but
is not included in the group of 15 "core" elements, partially
because those original 15 are seen as of more general use than
any of the refinements and other terms approved more recently.

The DC namespaces reflect this difference:
Audience appears in the same namespace as the
refinements, not the original 15 elements. See
for the full Namespace Policy document.

Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 08:28:04 -0400
From: Kelly A Green <kgreen@VRS.STATE.VA.US>
Subject: Re: "Audience"
To: Erin Stewart <erinste@MICROSOFT.COM>

Audience is used when you use Qualified Dublin Core. That is when you 
use element qualifiers (Is Part Of; Has Part Of (elements of 
"relations"); Valid; Created; Available (elements of "Date") are 
examples that I am using) Personally, I don't understand how it is an 
Element that is available within Qualified DC is not available as a Core 
Element. The rest of Qualified DC includes Element Refinements, not 
additional Elements. I suppose that is a question for the board.
Perhaps it is to allow additional elements to be added in the future?

DC Qualified is found at:

Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 08:53:55 -0700
Sender: DCMI Usage Board Back Channel <DC-USAGE-BC@JISCMAIL.AC.UK>
From: Stuart Sutton <sasutton@U.WASHINGTON.EDU>
Subject: Re: "Audience"
Comments: To: Kelly A Green <kgreen@VRS.STATE.VA.US>,

The perceived "problem" with the status of "audience" is an ongoing one
and will only grow more problematic as additional elements/properties
(every bit as "first class" as the original 15) are added to the DCMI
namespaces. For example, at its recent meeting in Bath (UK), the Usage
Board added a property named "provenance" which, like "audience," is
_not_ a refinement of the original 15 ... see the Usage Board decision
at the following URL:

The fact that _every_ additional DCMI recommended/conforming property
lands in the terms namespace ( and not the
namespace for the original 15 ( is not
relevant to their status as fully approved/sanctioned properties of
DCMI. The decision (good or bad) to maintain the original 15 elements
in their own namespace and dump everything else into another was not
intended (as far as I can tell) to be any sort of comment on the status
of those post-15 properties. The fact that they came after NISO
approval of the original 15 also seems to me to be inconsequential.
Nothing prohibits the maintenance agency for the NISO standard (DCMI I
believe?) from going through the process of adding "audience" to the
standard. Personally, I bloody wish it would do so so that we can put
to rest the incessant uncertainty as to its status.

DCMI created the Usage Board and a whole set of processes for proposing
new properties and refinements to existing properties. However, it has
totally failed to get the word out to the DC community that newly
approved properties (i.e., properties given "recommended" or
"conforming" status) are DCMI properties with DCMI legitimacy equal to
the original 15. While equally legitimate, this does not mean that all
applications (e.g., OAI that is hinged on the unqualified, original 15
properties) will necessarily know what to do with these properties and
may well ignore or discard them. That's a problem of these sorts of
applications and not a DCMI problem. The problem of confusion will
probably not improve until DCMI figures out how to better communicate to
the world how DCMI terms namespaces (i.e., properties/elements) are

To find out about these Usage Board decisions regarding new properties
and property refinements, check out the Usage Board "decisions on
proposals" page at the URL below. Sometimes there is a bit of lag time
between the decisions being announced there and their incorporation into
schemas and other documentation.

Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 12:01:28 -0400
Reply-To: Kelly A Green <kgreen@VRS.STATE.VA.US>
From: Kelly A Green <kgreen@VRS.STATE.VA.US>
Subject: Re: "Audience"

Thank you for the clarification Stuart. I too wish the Usage Board would
simply add approved elements to the standard.
Yes, NISO standard is DCMI, found at
We are Standard Z39.85 (PDF)