What it is, and why it's important The library community and its allied partners have provided at least one definition for metadata for their respective communities. Here are a couple of examples:
"A characterization or description documenting the identification, management, nature, use, or location of information resources (data)." [The Society of American Archivists' A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology]
"Metadata is structured, encoded data that describe characeristics of information-bearing entities to aid in the identification, discovery, assessment, and management of the described entities." [ALA Task Force on Metadata, 1999]
To meet specific needs of a community or collection, a set of metadata elements (tags) known collectively as a schema is created that will neet the requirements.
Common charactertistics of metadata schemas
*a limited number of elements *the name of the element *the definition of the element *element's criteria
The University of Alabama Digital Collections are cultural heritage items. Elements in schemas for cultural heritage collections have broad definitions and criteria so institutions may narrow definitions and set criteria to meet their needs.
Metadata schemas for the cultural heritage items include the CDP Metadata Working Group's [Dublin Core Metadata Best PracticesWestern Best Practices]. Mandatory elements include: title, creator (if available), subject, description, date digital, date orginal (if applicable), format, digitization specifications, resource identifier, and rights management.
With a primary metadata schema in place, other elements may be added to meet the needs of the collection. The elements may be borrowed from another schema.
Types of metadata and examples of each:
Our chosen metadata schemes (why and for what)