Dublin Core

From New World Encyclopedia

The Dublin Core metadata element set is a standard for cross-domain information resource description. It provides a simple and standardized set of conventions for describing things online in ways that make them easier to find. Dublin Core is widely used to describe digital materials such as video, sound, image, text, and composite media like web pages. Implementations of Dublin Core typically make use of XML and are Resource Description Framework based. Dublin Core is defined by ISO in 2003 ISO Standard 15836,[1] and NISO Standard Z39.85-2007.[2]

The term "Dublin" came from Dublin, Ohio, U.S., and "core" implies the possibility of expansion. In 1995, the OCLC, a library consortium in Dublin, hosted an invitational workshop to set standards for metadata descriptions. In collaboration with inter-disciplinary group of professionals from museums, archives, and the fields of library and information science, and information technology, and others, they set a core metadata set of information description. The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) was also established to enhance its standard setting efforts for a global application of information on the internet.


The "Dublin" in the name refers to Dublin, Ohio, U.S., where the work originated from an invitational workshop hosted in 1995 by OCLC, a library consortium that is based there. The "Core" refers to the fact that the metadata element set is a basic but expandable "core" list.

The semantics of Dublin Core were established and are maintained by an international, cross-disciplinary group of professionals from librarianship, computer science, text encoding, the museum community, and other related fields of scholarship and practice.

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) is an organization providing an open forum for the development of interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes and business models. DCMI's activities include consensus-driven working groups, global conferences and workshops, standards liaison, and educational efforts to promote widespread acceptance of metadata standards and practices.

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative describes its mission as "The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative provides simple standards to facilitate the finding, sharing and management of information"[3] by:

  • Developing and maintaining international standards for describing resources
  • Supporting a worldwide community of users and developers
  • Promoting widespread use of Dublin Core solutions[3]

DCMI defines its organizational characteristics by three "I"s.

  • Independent: DCMI is not controlled by specific commercial or other interests and is not biased towards specific domains nor does it mandate specific technical solutions
  • International: DCMI encourages participation from organizations anywhere in the world, respecting linguistic and cultural differences
  • Influenceable: DCMI is an open organization aiming at building consensus among the participating organizations; there are no prerequisites for participation[3]

DCMI lists five organizational principles of operation.

  1. Open consensus building.
  2. International Scope and participation.
  3. Neutrality of purposes and business models. DCMI is neutral as to the purposes for which DCMI metadata standards might be used, and encourages the adoption of these standards in the public and private sectors.
  4. Neutrality of technology.
  5. Cross disciplinary focus.[4]

Levels of the standard

The Dublin Core standard includes two levels: Simple and Qualified. Simple Dublin Core comprises fifteen elements; Qualified Dublin Core includes three additional elements (Audience, Provenance and RightsHolder), as well as a group of element refinements (also called qualifiers) that refine the semantics of the elements in ways that may be useful in resource discovery.

Simple Dublin Core

The Simple Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) consists of 15 metadata elements:

  1. Title
  2. Creator
  3. Subject
  4. Description
  5. Publisher
  6. Contributor
  7. Date
  8. Type
  9. Format
  10. Identifier
  11. Source
  12. Language
  13. Relation
  14. Coverage
  15. Rights

Each Dublin Core element is optional and may be repeated. The DCMI has established standard ways to refine elements and encourage the use of encoding and vocabulary schemes. There is no prescribed order in Dublin Core for presenting or using the elements. Full information on element definitions and term relationships can be found in the Dublin Core Metadata Registry.[5]

Qualified Dublin Core

Subsequent to the specification of the original 15 elements, there is an ongoing process to develop exemplary terms extending or refining the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES). The additional terms were identified, generally in working groups of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and judged by the DCMI Usage Board to be in conformance with principles of good practice for the qualification of Dublin Core metadata elements.

Element refinements make the meaning of an element narrower or more specific. A refined element shares the meaning of the unqualified element, but with a more restricted scope. The guiding principle for the qualification of Dublin Core elements, colloquially known as the Dumb-Down Principle,[6] states that an application that does not understand a specific element refinement term should be able to ignore the qualifier and treat the metadata value as if it were an unqualified (broader) element. While this may result in some loss of specificity, the remaining element value (without the qualifier) should continue to be generally correct and useful for discovery.

In addition to element refinements, Qualified Dublin Core includes a set of recommended encoding schemes designed to aid in the interpretation of an element value. These schemes include controlled vocabularies and formal notations or parsing rules. A value expressed using an encoding scheme may thus be a token selected from a controlled vocabulary (e.g., a term from a classification system or set of subject headings) or a string formatted in accordance with a formal notation (e.g., "2000-12-31" as the standard expression of a date). If an encoding scheme is not understood by an application, the value may still be useful to a human reader.

DCMI also maintains a small, general vocabulary recommended for use within the element Type. This vocabulary currently consists of 12 terms.[5]


Syntactical choices for DC metadata depend on a number of variables, and "one size fits all" prescriptions rarely apply. When considering an appropriate syntax, it is important to note that Dublin Core concepts and semantics are designed to be syntax independent and are are equally applicable in a variety of contexts, as long as the metadata is in a form suitable for interpretation both by machines and by human beings.

The Dublin Core Abstract Model[7] provides a reference model against which particular DC encoding guidelines can be compared, independent of any particular encoding syntax. Such a reference model allows implementers to gain a better understanding of the kinds of descriptions they are trying to encode and facilitates the development of better mappings and translations between different syntaxes.

Some applications

One Document Type Definition based on Dublin Core is the Open Source Metadata Framework (OMF) specification. OMF is in turn used by ScrollKeeper, which is used by the GNOME desktop and KDE help browsers and the ScrollServer documentation server. PBCore is also based on Dublin Core. The Zope CMF's Metadata products, used by the Plone, ERP5 and the Nuxeo CPS Content management systems, also implement Dublin Core.

The following are some examples of projects that use Dublin Core. For a complete list of projects, see Dublin Core Projects.[8]

AHDS Arts & Humanities Data Service (Home page: http://ahds.ac.uk/)

The AHDS is a federal organization, consisting of a central Executive and five service providers encompassing archaeology, history, textual studies and the performing and visual arts. The goal of this organization is to build an integrated system capable of providing a seamless whole to the user of the electronic resources available from each service provider.[8]

Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway and the Visual Arts Data Service (Home page: http://www.intute.ac.uk/artsandhumanities/) (Home page: http://vads.ahds.ac.uk/)

The Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway and the Arts Data Service are two services that aim to provide the UK Higher Education community with fast, reliable access to high quality networked resources in the visual arts, and to promote the use of standards of best practice through example and outreach.[8]

EdNA (Education Network Australia) (Home page: http://metadata.edna.edu.au/)

EdNA is a collaborative project between all Australian States and Territories and all sectors of education and training; schools, vocational education and training, adult community education, and higher education. EdNA is using a metadata standard based on Dublin Core.[8]

See also


  1. ISO 15836:2003, Information and documentation - The Dublin Core metadata element set, International Standard Organization. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  2. Z39.85, NISO Standards, NISO. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mission and Scope, The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  4. Principles of Operation, Principles and Operation of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, DCMI. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dublin Core Metadata Registry Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  6. DCMI Glossary, DCMI. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  7. Dublin Core Abstract Model Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Dublin Core Projects, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. Retrieved May 18, 2008.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Caplan, Priscilla. Metadata Fundamentals for All Librarians. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003. ISBN 0838908470
  • Chepesiuk, R. "Organizing the Internet: Librarians Are Playing a Key Role in Cataloging the Cyberworld with OCLC's Dublin Core." AMERICAN LIBRARIES 30(1) (1999): 60-63.
  • Darmoni SJ, B Thirion, JP Leroy, and M Douy̐ưere. "The Use of Dublin Core Metadata in a Structured Health Resource Guide on the Internet." Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 89(3) (2001): 297-301.
  • Dorman, D. "Scheming to Normalize Dublin Core." AMERICAN LIBRARIES. 33 (2002): 116-117.
  • Gilliland-Swetland, A. J., Y. B. Kafai, and W. E. Landis. "Application of Dublin Core Metadata in the Description of Digital Primary Sources in Elementary School Classrooms." JOURNAL- AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE 51 (2000): 193-201.
  • International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, Makx Dekkers, and Lourdes Feria. Metadata for Knowledge and Learning: DC-2006, Proceedings of the International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications. Colima, Mexico: Universidad de Colima, 2006.
  • National Information Standards Organization (U.S.). The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set: An American National Standard. National information standards series. Bethesda, Md: NISO Press, 2001.
  • Smiraglia, Richard P. Metadata: A Cataloger's Primer. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Information Press, 2005. ISBN 078902800X ISBN 978-0789028006 ISBN 0789028018 ISBN 978-0789028013
  • Thomas, Charles Franklin. Libraries, the Internet, and Scholarship: Tools and Trends Converging. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2002. ISBN 0824707729 ISBN 978-0824707729

External links

All links retrieved February 12, 2024.


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