Metadata in the Digital Library: Building an Integrated Strategy with XML

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

The range of metadata needed to run a digital library and preserve its collections in the long term is much more extensive and complicated than anything in its traditional counterpart. It includes the same "descriptive" information which guides users to the resources they require but must supplement this with comprehensive "administrative" metadata: this encompasses technical details of the files that make up its collections, the documentation of complex intellectual property rights and the extensive set needed to support its preservation in the long-term. To accommodate all of this requires the use of multiple metadata standards, all of which have to be brought together into a single integrated whole.

Metadata in the Digital Library is a complete guide to building a digital library metadata strategy from scratch, using established metadata standards bound together by the markup language XML. The book introduces the reader to the theory of metadata and shows how it can be applied in practice. It lays out the basic principles that should underlie any metadata strategy, including its relation to such fundamentals as the digital curation lifecycle, and demonstrates how they should be put into effect. It introduces the XML language and the key standards for each type of metadata, including Dublin Core and MODS for descriptive metadata and PREMIS for its administrative and preservation counterpart. Finally, the book shows how these can all be integrated using the packaging standard METS. Two case studies from the Warburg Institute in London show how the strategy can be implemented in a working environment.

The strategy laid out in this book will ensure that a digital library's metadata will support all of its operations, be fully interoperable with others and enable its long-term preservation. It assumes no prior knowledge of metadata, XML or any of the standards that it covers. It provides both an introduction to best practices in digital library metadata and a manual for their practical implementation.

1. Aims and definitions

2. Metadata basics

3. Planning a metadata strategy – basic principles

4. Planning a metadata strategy – applying the basic principles

5. Syntax: the metadata container

6. The overall model: METS

7. Descriptive metadata

8. Content rules

9. Administrative and structural metadata

10. Preservation metadata

11. Interoperability and metadata

12. Implementing the strategy: case studies

13. Summary and conclusions


Richard Gartner

Richard Gartner is a librarian and academic whose primary area of research is the theory and practice of metadata. He is currently the Digital Librarian at the Warburg Institute in the University of London where he established and is responsible for the Institute's digital library. He previously worked at the Bodleian Library, Oxford where he instigated the Library's first digitisation programmes and devised the metadata strategy for the Oxford Digital Library. More recently he was a lecturer in the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London where he taught and researched metadata theory and practice and digital curation. He has written over 50 publications on metadata in the academic literature and is the author of the widely-read book Metadata: Shaping Knowledge from Antiquity to the Semantic Web (Springer, 2016).

"This book is essential reading for anyone aiming to create a digital library from scratch. But it is also a clear, concise guide to core metadata concepts, and a handy reference for numerous schemas and technical tools, for any librarian working with metadata. I expect to be regularly referring to my copy for years to come, and I believe I will be a better librarian for it."
— Catalogue & Index

"Most chapters in Metadata in the Digital Library include examples, including a plethora of XML-based code as it relates to structural, administrative, and descriptive metadata development ... [This book is] a highly recommended resource for technical services librarians charged with managing digital collections and libraries."
— Technicalities

"Written for both library school students and library practitioners who are interested in establishing a digital library and the metadata necessary to ensure its administration and use, this book is divided into twelve concise chapters covering metadata basics, the planning and application of a metadata strategy, and detailed analysis of metadata schema structure, content rules, and uses ... Highly recommended."
— Technical Services Quarterly