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Seeing Standards header

In contrast to the library cataloging community, metadata standards for building digital collections vary widely in the cultural heritage space and usually involve making many local decisions about which type of standards to use from each of the categories listed below. View Jenn Riley’s Seeing Standards: A Visualization of the Metadata Universe to more fully understand the scope of standards used by cultural heritage communities.

Metadata Standards

  • Data Structure Standards 
    Data structure standards are sometimes referred to as metadata schemes or schema. Metadata schema define the structure and the meaning (semantics) of elements. Find out more information about commonly used standards like the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set on this webpage.
  • Data Content Standards 
    Data content standards provide guidelines for creating metadata. Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO) and Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) and are defined here.
  • Data Value Standards 
    Data value standards are established lists of terms used as data elements to ensure consistency and quality. Examples of data value standards include thesauri, controlled vocabularies, and authority files. The Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), Library of Congress Thesaurus of Graphic Materials (LCTGM), Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), LC Name Authority File, and more are included on this page.
  • Data Format/Exchange Standards 
    Data format or data exchange standards are markup languages that provide a standardized way to structure and express metadata schemes for machine processing. This webpage includes information about the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), MARCXML, and more.