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Data Documentation / Metadata

Learn best practices for describing your data to support sharing and reusability. Includes discipline specific metadata standards and best practices.

Encoded Archival Description (EAD)

"Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is an XML standard for encoding archival finding aids, maintained by the Technical Subcommittee for Encoded Archival Standards of the Society of American Archivists, in partnership with the Library of Congress."  -


EAD3 Frequently Asked Questions -SAA EAD Roundtable

Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)

The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines specify encoding methods for machine-readable texts, primarily for but not limited to the humanities, social sciences and linguistics.

TEI: P5 Guidelines -

OxGarage Conversion Tool -

Roma - TEI Customization Tool -

"TEI Roma is a tool for working with TEI customizations. A TEI customization is a document from which you can generate a schema defining which elements and attributes from the TEI system you want to use, along with customized HTML or PDF documentation of it. The schema generated can be expressed in any of DTD, RELAXNG W3C Schema or Schematron languages."


TAPAS Project -

TAPAS is the TEI Archiving, Publishing, and Access Service hosted by Northeastern University Library's Digital Scholarship Group.


TEI Tools Wiki -

Dublin Core

Dublin Core is a schema with a relatively small set of terms that can be used to describe digital as well as physical resources.

The Dublin Core standard previously included two levels, Simple and Qualified. Simple Dublin Core included 15 elements, while Qualified Dublin Core included three additional elements, as well as a element refinements/qualifiers.

In 2012, Simple and Qualified Dublin Core were merged into a single set of terms using the RDF data model. These are the DCMI Metadata terms listed below.

Original 15 Metadata Elements

  1. Title
  2. Creator
  3. Subject
  4. Description
  5. Publisher
  6. Contributor
  7. Date
  8. Type
  9. Format
  10. Identifier
  11. Source
  12. Language
  13. Relation
  14. Coverage
  15. Rights

DCMI Metadata Terms

  1. abstract
  2. accessRights
  3. accrualMethod
  4. accrualPeriodicity
  5. accrualPolicy
  6. alternative
  7. audience
  8. available
  9. bibliographicCitation
  10. conformsTo
  11. contributor
  12. coverage
  13. created
  14. creator
  15. date
  16. dateAccepted
  17. dateCopyrighted
  18. dateSubmitted
  19. description
  20. educationLevel
  21. extent
  22. format
  23. hasFormat
  24. hasPart
  25. hasVersion
  26. identifier
  27. instructionalMethod
  28. isFormatOf
  29. isPartOf
  30. isReferencedBy
  31. isReplacedBy
  32. isRequiredBy
  33. issued
  34. isVersionOf
  35. language
  36. license
  37. mediator
  38. medium
  39. modified
  40. provenance
  41. publisher
  42. references
  43. relation
  44. replaces
  45. requires
  46. rights
  47. rightsHolder
  48. source
  49. spatial
  50. subject
  51. tableOfContents
  52. temporal
  53. title
  54. type
  55. valid

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative -

Dublin Core Specifications -

Dublin Core Terms -

DCMI Training Resources -

Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS)

The Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) was developed in 2002 as a bibliographic element set that may be used for a variety of purposes, including the description of digital and physical resources.

The advantages of the MODS schema over Dublin Core and traditional bibliographic schema (like MARC) are: it is richer/more complex than Dublin Core; it is more user friendly and simpler than the MARC XML schema for bibliographic records.

Top-level Elements in MODS

  1. titleInfo
  2. name
  3. typeOfResource
  4. genre
  5. originInfo
  6. language
  7. physicalDescription
  8. abstract
  9. tableOfContents
  10. targetAudience
  11. note
  12. subject
  13. classification
  14. relatedItem
  15. identifier
  16. location
  17. accessCondition
  18. part
  19. extension
  20. recordInfo

Attributes Used Throughout the MODS Schema

Some attributes may be applied to multiple MODS elements, as indicated in the MODS schema.

Language-Related and Other Attributes: Date Attributes: Linking Attributes: