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Digital Projects Toolkit

A collection of resources, tools, and consultative services to support the development of digital scholarship and pedagogy projects created by or in collaboration with the University Libraries.

Dublin Core Metadata Explained

Many scholarly digital project tools use a standardized list of metadata fields known as the Dublin Core metadata standard. This set of standard fields was originally developed to provide a manageable list of simple fields that could apply to the vast majority of sources.

However, the attempt to create a very general set of common fields has result in some difficulty in interpreting their meaning and purpose. The table below contains a list of the core fields, descriptions, and some examples to help you understand their purpose.

Documenting all of your resources in a consistent way helps others to clearly understand what your sources are, where they originated, and how similar items relate to each other. You do not need to use all of these fields. You only need to use the fields that you feel are important to document your sources and make them accessible.


Field Name Zotero Field Name(s) Description Format Examples
Title Title A name given to the item. If the item is published, it may already have a title. However, for unpublished primary sources, you may need to come up with a title. Natural language
  • "Interview with Dr. Frederick Gies"
  • "Daytonian 2015"
  • "Celts Basketball Team"
Subject Tags A word or phrase that describes what this item is about. Consider using a standard list of terms, such as the Library of Congress' Subject Headings or the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus for a standardized list of terms to help with consistency Natural language
  • "Third-wave feminism"
  • "Humor in literature"
  • "White privilege (Social structure)"
Description Notes A natural language description of the item Natural language "A University of Dayton preparatory intramural basketball team, the Celts, circa 1920s."
Creator Author, Artist, Director, Photographer The person, group, or organization primarily responsible for creating the item. This could be an author, a photographer, a curator, a company, etc. Consider using a standardized list of names, such as the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), for consistency in your sources. Natural language
  • "Hoffay, A.A."
  • "Ohio Federal Writers' Project"
  • "Sherman Institute (Riverside, Calif.)"
Source Location in archive, Call number, Library catalog A related resource, such as a book or archival collection, from which this item is derived. Include a specific identifier for the source if available, such as a call number, accession number, etc. Natural language
  • "P 400"
  • "The Erma Bombeck Papers"
Publisher Publisher The organization responsible for making the resource available. If the item is "unpublished", leave blank. For digital items, the Publisher is the organization responsible for creating the digital resource. Natural language
  • "Avon Books"
  • "University of Dayton Libraries"
  • "Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives"
Date Date, Copyright date The date of original creation of the item. For collections, this can be a date range spanning the creation dates of items in the collection. YYYY-MM-DD format if full date is known. If only a partial date is known, use YYYY-MM or YYYY.
  • "1898"
  • "1973-03-13"
  • "1933-06"
Contributor Translator, Interviewer Names of people or organizations that contributed to the creation of the item. This could include translators, donors, illustrators, etc. Lastname, Firstname
  • "Heaney, Seamus, 1939-2013"
  • "Bombeck, Erma"
  • "University of Dayton Libraries, University Archives"
Rights Rights Description of users' rights to reuse and reproduce the item. If items are restricted, should include the name of the organization or individual that may be contacted to request permission to use the item.

See the Creative Commons or Rights Statements websites for specific language and formats for the different statements

Relation Volume, Series Description of a resource to which (or from which) the item is derived. For example, it could be part of a larger work or part of a series. Natural language
  • "Transcript of oral history interview with Michele Devitt, Curatorial Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator for the Marian Library, University fo Dayton, on June 20, 2019"
  • "Joe Munroe Archive"
  • "Digital reproduction of the poster Wildflowers Amuk, City Museum of Wildflowers, New York."
Format Medium, Number of pages, Running time, Artwork size This could include the format of both the digital file itself as well as any format of the physical item if it is a digitized item. Use a controlled list of names or terms if available. For file formats, consider using the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. For artworks, consider using the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • "JPG"
  • "12 documents, 58 pages, 11.5 x 8 inches"
  • "PDF"
Language Language The language(s) of the resource Refer to the language codes set by the International Standards Organization for representation of names of languages.
  • "eng"
  • "spa"
  • "fra"
Type Item type The nature or genre of the item. Consider selecting from a controlled list of terms, such as "dataset", "event", "moving image", "software", "sound", "still image", "text".

Use a controlled list of terms. See the "Item Types" tab in Omeka for a list of suggested item types.

  • "text"
  • "still image"
  • "oral history"
Identifier ID A unique alphanumeric identifier for the item, usually assigned by the publisher, archive, or other holding institution. Natural language
  • "ATH02-02_20020"
  • "NPG.93.86"
  • "IRC-INDC-SB1-106.tif"
Coverage Location, Time period The geographic location or time period that is depicted by the item. Natural language. For place names, consider using a standardized list of names, such as Geonames
  • "39.74006, -84.17883"
  • "1940s";
  • "19th Century"


The content on this page was adapted from the College of Wooster Libraries' excellent Getting Started with Omeka LibGuide

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