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Tulane University Digital Library Metadata Guidelines

These guidelines were approved by the Digital Production Review Committee in September 2019.

About Descriptive Metadata

Descriptive metadata is one of the types of metadata and is commonly used for indexing, discovery and identification of a resource. It allows content creators and librarians to keep track of which types of data they have created (indexing). It allows searchers to find the information they are looking for (discovery). Descriptive metadata is also recorded in citations so that the information is attributed and discoverable for other researchers (identification). It can be used to describe the original creators, methodology, and purposes for which an item was created, when attempting to find out where to search next for more information, or when sharing information otherwise not included explicitly in the resource.

Examples of descriptive metadata are title, creator, and subject(s). For more information on subtypes of descriptive metadata, or how to encode descriptive metadata, see the sub-pages in the navigation column.

Using this Guide to Create Descriptive Metadata

Supplying Descriptive Metadata

The majority of the information provided by contributors to the TUDL will be descriptive metadata. The easiest way to provide this information is using a spreadsheet in which each column is a type of metadata (title, name, subject, etc.) and each row is an item being described. However, many types of metadata may require multiple columns in order to fully describe the contents of a collection.


The following subpages will each contain:

1. A theoretical or conceptual description of this type of metadata. This will include information about how to record information about this type of metadata according to the RDA and DACS standards, which are respectively the primary standards for describing library and archival content.

2. Specific information about how this type of metadata should be recorded in a spreadsheet.

3. Detailed information most useful to catalogers, metadata librarians, and programmers about how this type of metadata, as recorded in the spreadsheet, should be mapped to MODS or other metadata schema. Reading it may also help explain why the standards for recording data into the spreadsheet are required.


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