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3. Metadata types and functions

3.1 NISO's definitions

There are three main types of metadata:

Descriptive metadata describes a resource for purposes such as discovery and identification. It can include elements such as title, abstract, author, and keywords.

Structural metadata indicates how compound objects are put together, for example, how pages are ordered to form chapters.

Administrative metadata provides information to help manage a resource, such as when and how it was created, file type and other technical information, and who can access it. There are several subsets of administrative data; two that are sometimes listed as separate metadata types are:

Rights management metadata, which deals with intellectual property rights,
Preservation metadata, which contains information needed to archive and preserve a resource.

NISO. (2004) Understanding Metadata.
Bethesda, MD: NISO Press, p.1

3.2 Metadata functions

NISO. (2004) Understanding Metadata.
Bethesda, MD: NISO Press, pp.1-2.

3.3 Getty's definitions on types of metadata

Type Definition Examples
Administrative Metadata used in managing and administering information resources - Acquisition information
- Rights and reproduction tracking
- Documentation of legal access requirements
- Location information
- Selection criteria for digitization
- Version control and differentiation between similar information objects
- Audit trails created by record keeping systems
Descriptive Metadata used to describe or identify information resources - Cataloging records
- Finding aids
- Specialized indexes
- Hyperlinked relationships between resources
- Annotations by users
- Metadata for record keeping systems generated by records creators
Preservation Metadata related to the preservation management of information resources - Documentation of physical condition of resources
- Documentation of actions taken to preserve physical and digital versions of resources, e.g., data refreshing and migration
Technical Metadata related to how a system functions or metadata behave - Hardware and software documentation
- Digitization information, e.g., formats, compression ratios, scaling routines
- Tracking of system response times
- Authentication and security data, e.g., encryption keys, passwords
Use Metadata related to the level and type of use of information resources - Exhibit records
- Use and user tracking
- Content re-use and multi-versioning information

Murtha Baca ed.(2000).
Introduction to Metadata, Pathway to Digital Information
Getty Information Institute. Table 1.

3.4 Dublin Core's elements outline

Website: http://dublincore.org/
DC Element set

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


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