innovation in metadata design, implementation & best practices

Report of the meeting of the Dublin Core Libraries Working Group DC-2004, Shanghai, Tuesday 12 October 2004

30 people attended this working group meeting

The agenda of the WG was:

  1. Presentation of the revised DC-Lib - Robina Clayphan
  2. Feedback form the Usage Board - Rebecca Guenther
  3. Presentations from the floor - speakers
  4. Discussion and work plan for the next year - all and RC

1. Presentation of the revised version of DC-Lib
The main task of the WG over the past year was the production of a revised version of the library application profile, DC-Lib. This has been updated with the decisions taken at the meeting in 2003 and reformatted according to the CEN Guidelines for DCAPs. Robina Clayphan presented the revised version and explained the changes that had been made to conform to the Guidelines. There were several issues that were still awaiting the outcome of Usage Board meetings and one or two that are being handled by other working groups, notably the Date working group. The main outstanding issues were:

  • How to include terms from the MARC list of relators as refinements of DC.Contributor
  • How to declare or register needed encoding schemes
  • The issue of re-use of terms from other data models
  • Remaining Date requirements and a few open questions in the profile

2. Feedback from the Usage Board

Roles. To progress the desire to provide more specific roles for an agent in relation to a resource LoC has created an RDF version of the MARC Relators list. The entire list had been analysed to identify the subset of terms which refine the semantics of contributor (i.e making contributions to the content of the resource). For each term in the subset to which this applies the RDF document contains an assertion that they are subproperties of dc:contributor. These assertions have been endorsed by the DCMI Usage Board. Such terms will dumbdown to contributor if used as a dc term and the remainder of the Relator terms may be used if desired with the marcrel prefix e.g. marcrel:OWN for the term Owner. Guidelines will be issued for the use of the terms and to clarify the dumbdown situation. For future maintenance, LoC will contact the UB when a term is added to determine whether or not it is a subproperty of contributor and the assertion made accordingly. The agreed subset of terms can be seen at

Additionally, the term 'distributor' has been declared a subproperty of dc:publisher and 'depicted' subproperty of dc:subject.

This solution marks a whole new departure in using terms from another namespace: allowing DC descriptions to be enriched using terms from controlled vocabularies maintained by other trusted agencies. Moreover, the RDF document not only defines the terms but provides an identifier for each term in the form of an http URI. This means that these terms are uniquely, persistently and machine readably identified in a way that will enable use in semantic web developments.

A remaining issue for DC-Lib is to specify a way in which to refer to the subset of role terms as a whole rather than have to list each one separately in DC-Lib. This issue will be taken back to the UB by Rebecca.

Encoding Schemes. Where an encoding scheme has been approved by the UB it has been defined and uniquely identified in the DCMI namespace and can easily be referred to in an application profile. It was suggested that a formal registration process should be estqablished to enable further encoding schemes to be declared and used in DC application profiles. The UB feels the DCMI namespace cannot realistically be indefinitely expanded this way and agencies should be encouraged to use their own URIs rather than go through a formal registration process. This is an experimental time and relationships such as the one now established for the relators list should be set up. The UB will develop a policy, process and documentation for endorsing non-DCMI encoding scheme URIs. Two schemes that were already in process will be completed however, thse being ISO8601Basic (without hyphens) and NLM Classification.

Use of terms from different data models. Although they use different data models DC-Lib incorporates three terms taken from MODS. It has been argued that XML elements cannot be included in DC Aps unless the assertion is made that they are RDF properties. It is as yet unclear whether to make these assertions or to propse new elements so this issue remains unresolved.

3. Presentations

Mary Woodley of the California State University discussed the San Fernando Valley History Digital Library and the use made of Dublin Core in describing the digital objects. Corey Harper, of the University of Oregon, discussed the development of digital collections with CONTENTdm ( as well as the UO's institutional repository, Scholars' Bank. Thanks to both speakers for putting DCMES in the context of real developments.

4. Workplan

1 Update DC-Lib in line with UB decisions.
Who: Robina Clayphan.
When: Spring 2005
2 Submit DC-Lib to UB for "Registered" status.
Who: Robina Clayphan.
When: for next UB meeting in 2005
3 Suggest encoding schemes to include in DC-Lib.
Who: all.
When: on-going.
4 Write an XML schema for DC-Lib.
Who: Ann Apps.
When: Start with current version and complete when new version available.
5 Produce guidance documentation together with User Documentation WG.
Who: task to be sub-divided between WG members. RC to find volunteers.
When: Autumn 2005

Respectfully submitted
Robina Clayphan
Chair, DC Libraries Working Group