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Access Rights Qualifier for Rights element

DCMI Government Working Group

Proposal: Access Rights qualifier for Rights element

Name: accessRights
Label: Access Rights
Definition: Defining which user-groups can access the resource.
Comment: For describing which user-groups have access to the resource. Can contain information on the resource's status regarding access for users under any information access or privacy laws or regulation.
Examples: Examples:
  • accessRights="public"
  • accessRights="internal"
  • accessRights="department"
Type of Term: Element refinement
Term Qualified: rights
Why Needed: A user, particularly in a government information situation, may be looking specifically for items only available to a particular user group, or denied to a user group. Another user finds by searching a reference to a resource. If the user cannot access the resource, the user can see who can.
Proposal Status: Conforming
Related DCMI Terms: None
Related non-DCMI Terms: Similar could be GILS metadata element "Access constraints. General Access Constraints" ( and MoReq metadata element "User group access" (
Impact on Applications: Some or minor impact. But benefits are enhanced interoperability.
About the Proposers:

DC-Government Working Group:
DC-Government Working Group Discussion List Archive:

Issues [top]

Security classification and access rights are not the same. Security classification deals with any official security "stamp" to give a particular status to the resource. Only some resources will have such a stamp. Access rights do not need official stamps and can be used more loosely for the handling of the resource, e.g. a resource marked "public" in a content management system can be published, a resource marked "not-public" will not be, although metadata about the resource could be published). The "nature" of the two qualifiers is different, but the values could be related, e.g. if the security classification = "Top secret" then access rights should contain a value reflecting this. The difference between accessRights and audience is that audience contains values stating which segment of the user-group the information in the resource is created for. accessRights states which user-group has permission to access the resource, it does not say anything about the content (which audience does).

For full implementation of this refinement, a namespace is needed. Inclusion in DC will mean the availability of a practical, usable namespace.

Public Comment Period Summary [top]

[The summary of the discussion during the Public Comment Period is to be supplied by the Usage Board shepherd before discussion and decision by the Usage Board.]

Remarks about qualifier from DC GOV community 2001.08.01-2002.08.01

14 sept 2001 Nancy Brodie
There is a need to indicate access rights for resources that are not "open" and these possible access limitations are not based on copyright. So it is a good idea to specify some other rights. Achieving generic terminology here will be difficult since rights are most often based on national legislation.