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Tulane University Digital Library Metadata Guidelines

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

Basics about Identifiers

Identifiers are required by the Louisiana Digital Library Guidelines and are repeatable.

  • Enter the local item number or other identifier associated with the physical item. This will usually be the file name minus the file extension.
  • Recommended best practice is to add identifier fields when it is possible to identify the resource by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system.
    • Formal identification systems include but are not limited to the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) (including the Uniform Resource Locator (URL)), the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), the Universal Product Code (UPC), the International Article Number (EAN), and the International Standard Music Number.
    • If desired, fields can also be created for publisher or distributor numbers.
    • Name these columns Identifier--[Desired Display Label], ie. "Identifier--DOI"
  • Call numbers alone are not identifiers, though they may be used as a portion of a local identifier. Call numbers are handled under location and ownership. Class numbers (the first portion of most call numbers) may also be treated as subject/topic information.

File Names

Enter the file name, including the file extension, for the object described in the record.

  • Files names should include the following when applicable:
    • an acronym for the collection or project
    • a call number or other location identifier
    • a initial or estimated date of creation or publication
  • File names should not include punctuation except for underscores.
  • Underscores should be used to separate pieces of the title.
  • A project's file names should be written so that the ideal physical or conceptual arrangement is achieved when the files are sorted alphabetically, and they should be kept consistent within projects.


File name examples:

  • The first page of the first letter in box 2, folder 3 of a Jazz manuscript collection number 3543 may have a files name JazzMs3543B02F03001a_19340302.jp2
  • A book with the call number L 3420.32 C2 1990 in the SEAA collection may have the file name SEAAL342032C21990.pdf
  • The 1970 edition of a Tulane yearbook might be Gumbo_1901.pdf or Gumbo_9763378.05G974_1901.pdf

Identifiers in MODS


This is a top level element in MODS. The attributes that will be mostly commonly used with this element are type and displayLabel. It has no subelements.

  • The local identifiers or item numbers (see above) assigned based on collection and location should be assigned type='local'.
  • Published items with ISBNs may be given a type='isbn' or 'isbn-a' for actionable ISBNs.
  • Items assigned an ISSN may be given a type='issn' of 'issn-l' for linking numbers.
  • Items assigned a Library of Congress control number may include it as an <identifier type='lccn'>.
  • Identifiers that are call numbers should be given a display lable of "Local call number".
  • For additional recommended standard identifier source codes, see "Standard Identifier Source Codes" within Library of Congress, Network Development and MARC Standards Office's Source Codes for Vocabularies, Rules, and Schemes.

The URI/PID for digital objects is not treated as an identifier. Instead, MODS places this under <location><url>. For more information, see Technical and Administrative Metadata > Ownership and Location.

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