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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 Publication and Creation Information

Some publication and creation fields are required, but not all. See fields below for specifics.

  • For purposes of distinguishing between formally published and unpublished materials, do not consider publication in the LDL as formal publication. “Formally published” in these guidelines refers to formal publication of the original materials, rather than the digital representation.
  • For reformatted materials, use the information about the source item, not the digital version.
  • Do not use “Unknown” or similar terms; if the information is not available, leave the cell empty.
  • If available, use information provided on or with the original materials.
  • Use authorities for names and places when possible.
  • It will be assumed that the information provided in a spreadsheet is a publication statement, but production, distribution, and manufacture statements are optional elements in some encoding standards. If your materials will require more than a simple publication statement in order to properly describe your materials, please confer with the metadata librarian on how best to record this information in your spreadsheet.
  • Best practice for published materials is to follow RDA 2.8 Publication Statement, below.
  • For unpublished materials, best practice for manuscript collections is DACS 2.7 Administrative/Biographical History, but single items may be easier to describe using RDA 2.7 Production Statement.
  • Most items will be given individual records, but if series records are desired for a particular project, they should include all of the recommended elements under RDA 2.12 Series Statement.

Place of origination

Choosing the place information:

Place is a recommended field.

  • For a formally published resource, enter the place(s) of publication from the following sources in order of preference
    1. the same source as publisher’s name (usually on a title page)
    2. another source within the resource itself
    3. accompanying material, other published descriptions of this manifestation of the resource, or any other available source
  • For an unpublished resource, enter the place where the item was created, if known.
  • For some items, the place where an item was created may also be appropriate contents for a geographic subject. For more information, See Descriptive Metadata--Subjects.
  • If the place is pulled from material outside of the resource, include that information in a note.
  • If the place is unknown, do not include this element.
Forming the place term:
  • Include both the local place name (city, town, etc.) and the name of the larger jurisdiction or jurisdictions (state, province, etc., and/or country) if present on the source of information.
  • Use an authorized version of the place name whenever possible and pull from as few thesauri for place names as possible. If multiple thesauri are consulted, include each as a unique column and include the name of the thesaurus in the column header. (ex. Origin/place -- LCSH)
  • If the term is formed according to a standard, provide the standard used in the column header name.
  • Recommended standards for places include the MARC List for Geographic Areas and iso-3166 for countries, or Library of Congress Subject Headings and Name Authorities for more local places. Other options for place term vocabulary are available on Controlled Vocabulary Thesauri: Controlled Vocabulary for Places.


Recommended if applicable.

  • For a published resource, enter the publisher’s name.
  • When possible, use an authorized form of the publisher's name.
  • “Publication” in the LDL is not considered formal publication; how to properly credit for the repository making the resource available is under “Ownership and Collection.”
  • The creators of unpublished resources should be recorded according to the instructions for names, not within this field.

Dates of creation or other contribution

Date Created/Date Issued

At minimum, either date Created or Date Issued is Required

  • For formally published materials, enter the date of publication in the EDTF format into the "Date Issued" column.
  • For unpublished materials, enter the date for the creation of resource in the EDTF format into the "Date Created" column.
  • If distinct dates of creation and publication exist for the resource, use both Date Created and Date Issued.
  • For reformatted materials, use the date for the source item, not the digital version.
Date Format
  • Use the form recommended by the Extended Date/Time Format (EDTF) Specification when recording dates:
    • YYYY-MM-DD is the most common form of date
    • Qualifiers for dates include:
      • ~ to indicate approximate
      • ? to indicate uncertain or inferred dates
      • % to indicate uncertain and approximate
      • A qualification character to the immediate right of a component applies to that component as well as to all components to the left.
      • A qualification character to the immediate left of a component applies to that component only.
    • "X" or "u" is used to indicate an unspecified digit and may occur anywhere within a component
    • "-" is used to distinguish years, months, and days
    • "T" is used to indication time of day
    • ":" is used to distinguish hours minutes and seconds
    • "+" after T is used to indicate a positive time shift from UTC
    • "-" after T is used to indicate a negative time shift from UTC
    • "/" is used to indicate a time interval
    • "Y" before more than four numbers indicates that the numbers are a year
    • "-" before numbers indicates that it is a negative year
    • The following numbers in the place where month indicators would go indicate the following:
      • 21     Spring (independent of location)
      • 22     Summer (independent of location)
      • 23     Autumn (independent of location)
      • 24     Winter (independent of location)
      • 25     Spring - Northern Hemisphere
      • 26     Summer - Northern Hemisphere<
      • 27     Autumn - Northern Hemisphere<
      • 28     Winter - Northern Hemisphere
      • 29     Spring - Southern Hemisphere
      • 30     Summer - Southern Hemisphere<
      • 31     Autumn - Southern Hemisphere<
      • 32     Winter - Southern Hemisphere
      • 33     Quarter 1 (3 months in duration)
      • 34     Quarter 2 (3 months in duration)
      • 35     Quarter 3 (3 months in duration)
      • 36     Quarter 4 (3 months in duration)
      • 37     Quadrimester 1 (4 months in duration)
      • 38     Quadrimester 2 (4 months in duration)
      • 39     Quadrimester 3 (4 months in duration)
      • 40     Semestral 1 (6 months in duration)
      • 41     Semestral 2 (6 months in duration)
    • Set/multiple dates:
      • Square brackets wrap a single-choice list (select one member).
      • Curly brackets wrap an inclusive list (all members included).
      • Members of sets are separated by commas.
      • No spaces are allowed, anywhere within the expression.
      • Double-dot indicates all the values between the two values it separates, inclusive.
      • Double-dot at the beginning or end of the list means "on or before" or "on or after" respectively.
      • Elements immediately preceding and/or following as well as the elements represented by a double-dot, all have the same precision. Otherwise, different elements may have different precisions.
  • None: Enter an approximate year range to the best of your ability – even if only an approximate century (1801~/1900~), before or after a specific date are options of last resort. Do not enter ‘Unknown’ or ‘No date’ or similar.                                                                               
Date Description Date Format Date Example
Known Exact Date YYYY-MM-DD 1990-03-21
Known month and year YYYY-MM 2020-03
Known year only YYYY 1403
Known year and season YYYY-SS 2003-21
Questionable year YYYY? 1954?
Approximate year YYYY~ 2004~

Uncertain and approximate year

YYYY% 1874%
Decade certain YYYX 197X

Century certain:

Decade approximate YYYX~ 199X~

Century approximate

Alternate probable years [YYYY,YYYY] [1915,1945]
Approximate year range YYYY%/YYYY% 1965%/1968%
All of the following dates {YYYY,YYYY,etc.} {1919,1920,1921-01..1922-11, 1923}
Known within this date range YYYY/YYYY 1972/1975
Before a known date [..YYYY] [..1943]

After an questionable date

[YYYY?..] [1966?..]

About Origination Information in MODS

Commonly Used MODS Encoding for Creation and Publication Information
  • This data will be nested inside the top level element "originInfo".
  • The only commonly used attribute of originInfo is eventType:
    • ​eventType has the following suggested values: production, publication, distribution, and manufacture
    • These types are optional, but recommended if necessary to distinguish the context of multiple places and dates.
  • Sub-elements of originInfo used to describe the creation or publication of a resource are place, publisher, dateIssued, dateCreated, copyrightDate, dateOther, and edition:
    • place should contain an authorized form of the city or country in which the item was created or published
    • publisher should be copied as written on the object. If no publisher is provided, leave this column empty and exclude the element.
    • dateIssued is used to encode the date on which an item was published. For more information on date format, see above.
    • dateCreated is used to encode the creation date of an unpublished item. For more information on date format, see above.
    • copyrightDate is used to encode the copyright date of a published item. For more information on date format, see above.
    • dateOther is used to encode dates that don't fall into any of the other categories. When using it, always include a type attribute to indicate the meaning of the recorded date.
    • edition is an optional sub-element that can note the edition number of an item.
    • issuance is an optional sub-element used to record one of the following terms which describe how the resource is issued: monographic, single unit, multipart monograph, continuing, serial, integrating resource
    • frequency is an optional sub-element used to record a statement of publication frequency
  • Additional sub-elements of OriginInfo will be used to encode data described in this set of guidelines within Technical and Administrative Metadata
  • Serial publications will generally be treated as individual publications, but if serial records are desired, they may use issuance and frequency along with other MODS elements.
  • A note type "PubState" with display label "Note on Publication Statement" may be used if notes about these fields are required.

Examples of Origination Inforrmation Encoded in MODS

Basic publication statement
<mods:originInfo eventType="publication">
       <mods:placeTerm>nyu</mods:placeTerm><mods:placeTerm type="text">New York (N.Y.)</mods:placeTerm>
    <mods:publisher>Sanborn Map &amp; Publishing Co.</mods:publisher>
    <mods:dateIssued encoding="edtf" keydate="yes">1876</mods:dateIssued>
Basic creation statement with estimated date range
    <mods:dateCreated qualifier="approximate" keyDate="yes">1920/1930</mods:dateCreated>  
Publication and copyright statement
<originInfo eventType="publication">
      <placeTerm type="text">Cambridge</placeTerm>
   <publisher>Kinsey Printing Company</publisher>
   <copyrightDate encoding="iso8601">2000-01-22</copyrightDate>
   <dateIssued encoding="iso8601">2001-07-12</dateCaptured>
Complex origin statement for a serial, including publication, manufacture, and copyright statements
<originInfo eventType="manufacture">
      <placeTerm type="text">Cambridge</placeTerm>
   <publisher>Kinsey Printing Company</publisher>
   <dateOther type="manufacture" keyDate="yes" qualifier="inferred">1922</dateOther>

<originInfo eventType="publication">
   <copyrightDate encoding="iso8601">2000-01-22</copyrightDate>
   <dateCaptured encoding="iso8601">2001-07-12</dateCaptured>
Detailed creation statement
        <mods:placeTerm>New Orleans, La.</mods:placeTerm>

<mods:abstract type="scope and content">
        Errol Barron, FAIA, has been a faculty member of the Tulane School of Architecture since
        1976, and is currently Professor and Koch Chair. He received his Bachelor of Architecture
        from the Tulane School of Architecture, and his Master of Architecture from the Yale School
        of Architecture. Barron, also a painter and photographer, has exhibited his work and was the
        subject of a traveling exhibit of paintings and drawings. His paintings and drawings have
        been published in three books, and he is currently working on a book on the architecture of
        Tulane University. In 2012, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by the Louisiana Architects
        Association of the American Institute of Architects.
Origin Statement including Technical/Administrative Data
        <mods:publisher authority="LCNAF" valueURI="">
              J. Fischer &amp; Bro.
            <mods:placeTerm>New York, NY</mods:placeTerm>
        <!-- Digitization Date -->
        <mods:dateCaptured encoding="edtf">2013-02-25</mods:dateCaptured>
        <mods:dateModified encoding="edtf">2013-02-25</mods:dateModified>
Publication Statement with Note
        <mods:publisher authority="LCNAF" valueURI="">
              J. Fischer &amp; Bro.
            <mods:placeTerm>New York, NY</mods:placeTerm>
        <mods:note type"pubState" displayLabel="Note on Publication Statement">Place of publication
on title page verso "New York".</mods:note>
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