Metadata Help


The name given to the resource by the creator or publisher; may also be an identifying phrase or name of the object supplied by the contributing institution.


A person or entity primarily responsible for creating the intellectual content of the resource.  Examples of creators include authors of written documents, artists, photographers, collectors of natural specimens or artifacts, organizations that generate archival collections, etc. 


What the content of the resource is about or what it is, expressed by headings, keywords, phrases, names, or other terms for significant people, places, and events, etc. A classification code also may be assigned.


Descriptive comments about the original object that cannot be observed in the digital resource should be entered in the Source element.


An entity that made the resource available.  For digital objects, Publisher is the entity that created the digital resource.  Publishers can be a corporate body, publishing house, museum, historical society, university, a project, a repository, etc.


The person(s) or organization(s) who made significant intellectual contributions to the resource but whose contribution is secondary to any person(s) or organization(s) already specified in a Creator element.  Examples: editor, transcriber, illustrator, etc


Creation or modification dates for the original resource from which the digital object was derived or created.


Date of creation or availability of the digital resource. The contributing institution may approximate the date a resource was digitized.


Type includes terms describing general categories, functions, genres, or aggregation levels for content. Items that are published in The Newman Digital Archive were assigned a standardized physical description as follows:

Code Meaning
A Autograph
C Carbon
D Document
Dft Draft
F Fragment
K Postcard
L Letter
M Manuscript
N Notebook
n.d. no date
n.y. no year
PC Postcard
P Printed
p.m. postmark
PHOT Photograph
REPT Reprinted Item
S Signed
sh. sheet(s)
T Typed
Tr Transcript
Ts Typescript
X Xerox Copy


Typically, Format may include the media-type or dimensions of the resource. Format may be used to determine the software, hardware or other equipment needed to display or operate the resource. Examples of dimensions include size and duration. Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary (for example, the list of Internet Media Types [MIME] defining computer media formats).

Use the Format element to record the Internet Media Type (IMT scheme).  Use the Extent refinement to record a resource’s file size and/or duration.  Use the Medium refinement to describe an item’s physical (as opposed to its digital) nature.  The Format element is reserved for describing the access file only (be it image, audio, or video).  Technical metadata relating to the digitization process (i.e., scanner model, scanner resolution, color schemes, file size of the master file, etc.) should be recorded in the Digitization Specifications element. 


Use the Digitization Specifications element to record technical information about the digitization of the resource:  the hardware, software and processes used to create the digitized resource.  Include such information as scanner model, scan resolution, color profiles, compression schemes, size of master file (sometimes referred to as archival file), etc.  This element is primarily intended for use at the local level.  Use the Format element to record information about the access file.

This element is free text, and is not based upon any Dublin Core recommendations. However, as a general guideline, information that describes technical aspects of the digital object's creation is beneficial for long-term administration, technical support and maintenance of digital objects. For more information see 2.5 Emerging Trends above.

Strongly Recommended:

a. File size for master file - The number of bytes as provided by the computer system. Best practice is to record the file size as bytes (e.g. 3,000,000 bytes) and not as kilobytes (Kb), megabytes (Mb), etc.

b. Quality - For visual resources, characteristics such as bit depth, resolution (not spatial resolution); for multimedia resources, other indicators of quality, such as 16-bit audio file.

c. Compression - Electronic format or compression scheme used for optimized storage and delivery of digital object. This information often supplements the Format element.

d. Extent of master file - Pixel dimensions, pagination, spatial resolution, playtime, or other measurements of the physical or temporal extent of the digital object.


e. Creation hardware - If a hardware device was used to create, derive or generate the digital object, indicate from a controlled list of terms the particular hardware device. (Examples: flatbed reflective scanner, digital camera, etc.) Include manufacturer, model name, and model number.

f. Creation software - Name and version number of the software used to create the digital object.

g. Preferred presentation - Designation of the device, application, medium, or environment recommended for optimal presentation of the digital object.

h. Object producer - Name of scanning technician, digitization vendor, or other entity responsible for the digital object's creation. Distinguishable from the descriptive Creator element, this element is mainly useful when different persons generated multiple versions of the object’s content.

i. Operating system - Computer operating system used on the computer with which the digital object was created. (Examples: Windows, Mac, UNIX, Linux). Also include version of operating system.

j. Checksum value - A numeric value used to detect errors in file recording or file transfer, checksum helps ensure the integrity of digital files against loss of data.  Statement about methods of deriving checksum.

k. Creation methodology - If creation process used a standard series of steps, derivations or techniques, either state or refer to a URL describing the creation process.


A character string or record number that clearly and uniquely identifies a digital object or resource.  The Identifier element ensures that individual digital objects can be accessed, managed, stored, recalled and used reliably. Input ISSN, ISBN, other international standard numbers, local naming conventions that describe the original in Source.


Dublin Core Comment:

The present resource may be derived from the source resource in whole or in part. Recommended best practice is to reference the resource by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system.

Western States Comment:

When applicable, use the Source element to cite any other resource from which the digital resource was derived, either in whole or in part.  Some digital resources are “born digital” and derive from no pre-existing resource; in these cases, the Source element is not used.


Indicates the language(s) of the intellectual content of the resource.  This implies the language(s) in which a text is written or the spoken language(s) of an audio or video resource.  Visual images do not usually have a language unless there is significant text in a caption or in the image itself.


Dublin Core Comment: 

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

Western States Comment:  

The element contains information necessary to show a relationship with another resource.  A relationship may be multi-directional (i.e., a record may reference one or more other related resources).  There may also be a one-directional relationship, even though a refinement may exist to show reciprocity (e.g., the use of Relation [Requires] does not necessitate the use of Relation [Is Required By] in another record).  The relationship may be one of intellectual content variation (Is Version Of/Has Version), part-to-whole (Is Part Of/Has Part), citation/reference (References/Is Referenced By, Conforms To), substitution (Replaces/Is Replaced By), format variation (Has Format/Is Format Of), or dependency (Requires/Is Required By). 

The element may consist of textual information about the related resource relevant to the specific refinement; it may also consist of an identifier, such as a URI, for linking directly to the other resource. 


Dublin Core Comment:  

Coverage will typically include spatial location (a place name or geographic coordinates), temporal period (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 [TGN]) and that, where appropriate, use named places or time periods in preference to numeric identifiers such as sets of coordinates or date ranges.    

Western States Comment:

Coverage describes the spatial or temporal characteristics of the intellectual content of the resource.  Spatial refers to the location(s) covered by the intellectual content of the resource (i.e., place names; longitude and latitude; celestial sector; etc.) not the place of publication.  Temporal coverage refers to the time period covered by the intellectual content of the resource (e.g., Jurassic; 1900-1920), not the publication date.  For artifacts or art objects, the spatial characteristics usually refer to the place where the artifact/object originated while the temporal characteristics refer to the date or time period during which the artifact/object was made.


Dublin Core Comment:

Typically, a Rights Management element will contain a rights management statement for the resource, or reference a service providing such information. Rights information often encompasses Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Copyright, and various Property Rights. If the Rights Management element is absent, no assumptions can be made about the status of these and other rights with respect to the resource.

Western States Comment:

The content of this element is intended to be a rights management or usage statement, a URL that links to a rights management statement, or a URL that links to a service providing information on rights management for the resource.  A rights management statement may contain information concerning accessibility, reproduction of images, copyright holder, restrictions, securing permissions for use of text or images, etc.


A consistent reference to the institutions or administrative units that contributed to the creation, management, description, and/or dissemination of the digital resource.  For example, one institution may physically hold the original resource, another may perform the digital imaging, and another may create metadata.

Contributing Institution is intended to aid in the management and preservation of metadata records in a shared environment by identifying the provenance of records and digital objects.