Using the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set-Data Management Services - Carnegie Mellon University

Using the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set

The DMSG recommends researchers provide a minimum set of metadata for their datasets such as the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) - a simple set of 15 pieces of information that help identify and contextualize information objects. Elements of the DCMES are:

  1. Title - the title of the data object
  2. Creator - the person or entity responsible for creating the data object
  3. Subject - subject terms or keywords that describe the data object
  4. Description - a brief description, or abstract, of the data object
  5. Publisher - the entity responsible for making the data object available
  6. Contributor - a person or entity who contributed to the creation of the data object
  7. Date - data of creation, publication, or revision of the data object
  8. Type - the type of object. For data this would typically be "dataset"
  9. Format - a description of the format or file type(s) of the data object
  10. Identifier - a permanent identifier used to locate and identify the data object
  11. Language - the language(s) used within the data object (if applicable)
  12. Source - a relational element describing the lineage of the data object
  13. Relation - a relational element describing the relationship of this data object to other objects, collections, or entities
  14. Coverage - describes the spatial and temporal context of the data object
  15. Rights - describes any rights, restrictions, or terms of use
While not all of these metadata elements are necessary, the more information that can be provided to potential data users, the better.   Additional documentation about the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set can be found below:
  • ANSI/NISO Z39.85 2007 - this is the ANSI/NISO standard that describes the DCMES and is a good starting point for a general description of the metadata elements and their use
  • Dublin Core Metadata Initiative - this is the organization that developed, maintains, and updates the DCMES among other activities

If you have questions about creating metadata to document your datasets, contact:

Ana Van Gulick
Postdoctoral Fellow, Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences

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