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A Response to Proposed Editorial Changes to the Dublin Core
Metadata Element Set (DCMES)
This document contains comments on the Dublin Core
Metadata Initiative (DCMI) Usage Board`s proposed changes
to definitions, comments, and labels of the Dublin Core
Metadata Element Set. This represents the consensus within
the Information Standards and Interoperability Team of the
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat of the Government of
Canada, and is based on the experience implementing DCMES
within the Government of Canada and feedback from the
Government of Canada metadata community.
General Comment: The refinements will have to be reviewed
and revised, where applicable, to align the wording of the
definitions and comments with that of the elements they refine
(e.g., the refinements of Coverage, Description, Format,
Specific Comments (ordered by the numbering in the proposal):
1.1 We support the proposed change.
1.2 We recommend further changes to the definitions of Relation
and Source. In the proposed definition of Source, the word
"related" is redundant. The phrase "from which the described
resource is derived" establishes that the two resources
are related. Suggested definition of Source: The resource
from which the described resource is derived. The proposed
definition does not capture the concept of relation. As a
best practice, a definition should not include the word it
defines. The definition of Relation uses the term "related"
to define itself. Suggested definition of Relation: A resource
associated with the described resource.
1.3 We support the proposed change. Please note that this
proposal does not affect the comments for Coverage.
1.4 We support the proposed change.
1.5 We support the proposed change.
1.6 We support the change. The Government of Canada had
already adopted this wording in the Dublin Core Application
Profile for Web Resource Discovery in the Government of Canada.
2.1 We recommend changes to the proposal for Format. The
definition needs more work. The term "file format" is specific
to electronic resources. This specificity is inconsistent with
the proposed change under 1.1 which generalizes definitions to
include a wider range of resources (e.g., physical objects).
As a best practice, a definition should not include the word
it defines. Suggested definition: The physical or digital
characteristics of the resource.
2.2 We recommend changes to the proposal for Type. The
proposed definition does not capture scope of this element
as it is used in the Government of Canada. The Government
of Canada uses this element to provide "information about the
purpose and internal structure of a resource's content." See
The Government of Canada Type scheme includes values that do
not fall within the scope of the proposed definition. See:
Suggested definition: The genre, functional category, purpose,
intellectual structure, or aggregation level of the resource.
2.3 We support the proposed changes to Rights Management.
2.4 We recommend changes to the proposal for Coverage. While
we support clarifying the definition of Coverage, the
revised wording "spatial or temporal topic of the resource"
does not capture the full scope of usage of this element
within the Government of Canada. The spatial aspect of
Coverage is also used for resources that apply to a certain
geographic area. For example, a resource that contains
information on employment opportunities for various regions
contains information that is organized by area. The Coverage
element will contain a geographic descriptor, geocode or
spatial coordinates that define the areas referenced by the
resource. This could enable a user to search on employment
opportunities for a specific area. Suggested definition:
The spatial or temporal characteristics of the resource,
or the jurisdiction under which the resource is relevant.
We support the inclusion of jurisdiction in the definition.
We would strongly encourage the Usage Board to consider
creating a refinement for Jurisdiction so that it is clearly
distinguished from the Spatial refinement.
2.5 We support the proposed changes to Subject. We had
debated the use of geographic topics in the Subject element.
Thanks for the clarification.
2.6 We support the proposed changes to Language. We welcome
the new wording that advocates the use of an encoding scheme
but does not exclusively recommend RFC 3066. The Government of
Canada recently adopted the three-letter ISO 639-2T encoding
scheme for this element as the best solution to meet our
2.7 We support the proposed changes to Date.