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Security Classification qualifier for Rights element

DCMI Government Working Group

Proposal: Security Classification qualifier for Rights element

Name: protectiveMarking
Label: SecurityClassification
Definition: The classification allocated to the resource indicating its official security status or other restrictions on its availability.
Comment: The purpose of this qualifier is to facilitate proper and appropriate management of sensitive or security classified records.
Example of values (Australian):
  • protectiveMarking="Top Secret"
  • protectiveMarking="Secret"
  • protectiveMarking="Confidential"
  • protectiveMarking="Restricted"

    Example of values (Danish):
  • protectiveMarking="Yderst hemmeligt"
  • protectiveMarking="Hemmeligt"
  • protectiveMarking="Fortroligt"

    Example of values (UK):
  • protectiveMarking="Top secret"
  • protectiveMarking="Commercial in confidence"
  • protectiveMarking="Staff in confidence"

    A citizen-user finds a reference to a classified resource. The protective marking tells the user why access is not possible.  A user employed in an agency finds a reference to a protectively marked resource. This user needs to see how the resource is classified.
Type of Term: Element refinement
Term Qualified: rights
Why Needed: Protective markings are needed e.g. on intranets where resources with a variety of classifications will be stored but also on metadata databases designed to indicate that an information resource exists even if it is not actually available to the public. Such databases can be needed to meet access to information legislation requirements.
Proposal Status: Conforming
Related DCMI Terms: None
Related non-DCMI Terms: Similar could be GILS metadata element: "Access Constrains. Security Classification Control" ( and MoReq metadata element: "security category" (
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]

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 [top]

Correspondents have questioned the name of this resource, asking if 'Security classification" would be more widely understood. Protective marking is a more generic term, This is because things like 'commercial-in-confidence' or 'personal' aren't security classifications is the strictest sense, but do control access to the resource and its logical to put them in this refinement.

6 sept 2001. John Roberts:
In respect of the 'Protective marking' refinement for Rights, we agree with the refinement, but question the label suggested. The meaning of 'Protective marking' is not readily understood to a New Zealand user - why was this term preferred to, for example, 'Security classification'?

6 sept 2001 Diane Boehr
:B.3 Rights:Why not call "Protective marking" "Security Classification"? Isn't that clearer?

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. I agree with other comments that "Protective marking" is a bit obscure. "classification" or "level of protection" are more meaningful terms to us. We use ATI (Access to Information) not FOI although FOI is understood by specialists.