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A data structure standard is commonly referred to as a metadata scheme. A metadata scheme defines the structure and the meaning (semantics) of elements. 

Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES)

The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) is an internationally recognized metadata standard that includes 15 basic elements used to describe a wide variety of digital resources. Any institution using CONTENTdm (OCLC's Digital Collection Management software) also uses Dublin Core to describe their digital content. 

Dublin Core Resources

MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging)

Primarily used by the library community, MARC is a numeric data structure for bibliographic description, authority, classification, and holdings data, MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging) is used for describing bibliographic materials to facilitate cooperative cataloging and data exchange between integrated library systems. 

MARC Resources

Visit the Cataloging Encoding Standards webpage for more information.


VRA Core (Visual Resources Association Core Categories) was originally built upon the Dublin Core, adding elements and structure needed for the description and management of visual resources. It allows for the separate description of images, works, and collections, making a distinction between works and images of those works, with separate records for each that are linked to each other. Primarily the museum community uses VRA Core, but it is sometimes used for describing visual resources in collections outside of museums.

VRA Core Resources