Standardized Handling of Digital Resources: An Annotated Bibliography: An Annotated Bibliography

6. Metadata

While the exact meaning of the term 'metadata' is the subject of some debate, there is little question that dealing with metadata consumes a significant amount of most librarians' time. The following section lists resources describing standards for the encoding of metadata, not only for bibliographic information, but for other forms of electronic data.  

6.1 General Resources

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (1997). Digital libraries: Metadata resources [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
An extremely comprehensive set of links regarding metadata in the context of digital libraries. Includes links regarding the Dublin Core/Warwick Framework, EAD, Geospatial Metadata, GILS, Handles, Whois++, MARC, MCF, PICS, RDM, SHOE, SOIF, TEI, URIs, the ANSI X3L8 standard for data representation, and Z39.50. If you want to know about metadata, start here.  

6.2 Bibliographic Information Standards

Jacobsen, D. (1995, January 17). Bibliography formats [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
A page of links to information regarding various formats for the electronic encoding of bibliographic information. It also contains links to two software packages capable of converting records between a large number of such formats.
Lasher, R., & Cohen, D. (1995, June). A format for bibliographic records: Request for comments 1807 [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
This RFC defines a format for bibliographic records describing technical reports. This format was the one employed by Cornell University for the Dienst protocol and has been used extensively for the distribution of bibliographic information regarding computer science technical reports within the U.S.  

6.3 The Dublin Core/Warwick Framework

Weibel, S. L., & Miller, E. J. (1996, May 28). Dublin Core Element Set reference page [On-line]. OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Available on the World Wide Web:
The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set represents a simple resource description record that provides a foundation for electronic bibliographic description. This page provides links to the Core Element descriptions, to various papers describing aspects of both the Dublin Core and the Warwick Framework, to projects using the Dublin Core, and to the Listserv established for discussion of the Dublin Core online.  

6.4 Geospatial Data

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (1997, June 18). Metadata standards development [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
A page of links relating to the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, including links to the original and current draft versions of the standard, and reports on the standard from Mitre Corp.  

6.5 HTML Meta Tagging

Weibel, S. (1996, June 2). A proposed convention for embedding metadata in HTML [On-line]. In M. Schwartz (Ed.), Report of the W3C Distributed Indexing/Searching Workshop. Available on the World Wide Web: ReportOutcomes/S6Group2.html
This paper describes a proposed convention for embedding metatdata within HTML documents without requiring additional tags, changes to browser software, or interfering with current practices for robot collection of data. The proposed solution employs HTML <META> tags for embedding such information.

6.6 Metadata for Metadata (Registries and Descriptive Schema)

Biological Resources Division, United States Geological Survey (n.d.). Proposed metadata content standard for national biological information infrastructure (NBII) [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
A working group composed of members from the Biological Resources Division of the USGS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and USGS, has developed a 'strawman' metadata standard for non-spatial and geospatial biological data. This proposed standard is undergoing peer review, and is based in part on both the Federal Geographic Data Committee metadata standard for geospatial data and the USMARC standard. This site provides a brief description of the proposed standard, and a link to the FTP site where the complete 'strawman' metadata standard may be obtained.
Metadata Coalition (1996, June 7). Proposal for version 1.0 Metadata Interchange Specification [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web: or
The Metadata Coalition is a vendor/user alliance created to try to establish a metadata interchange format and supporting mechanisms for its use. The Metadata Interchange Specification (MDIS) is intended to provide an extensible mechanism that will "allow vendors to exchange common metadata as well as carry along 'proprietary' metadata." A 1.1 version draft of the specification has been created, but is not currently available on-line. Interested parties might wish to look at to see what alterations to the specification are being contemplated.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (1995). [ Announcement of Intent to Develop a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for a Data Standard for Record Description Records] [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
This announcement is a request for comments on a proposal to develop a Federal Information Processing Standard for the data elements to describe information objects, both electronic and non-electronic.
Olken, F., & McCarthy, J. (1997, June 2). Joint Workshop on Metadata Registries - home page [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
This page announces an invitational workshop focused on how to improve access to and share data by harmonizing metadata standards and developing metadata registries. The Workshop occurred on July 8-10, 1997 at the University of California at Berkeley. This page contains information regarding the Workshop, as well as a list of related metadata conferences.
Parallel Understanding Systems Group, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Maryland (1997, June 2). SHOE [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
The Simple HTML Ontology Extensions (SHOE) are a superset of HTML, adding the tags necessary to embed arbitrary semantic data into Web pages. SHOE is intended to allow Web page authors to annotate their documents with machine-readable knowledge. This page has links to the SHOE specification, to the SHOE Frequently Asked Questions file, to publications discussing SHOE, and to SHOE applications.
Schuldt, R. L., & Barman, B. A. (1995, March 7). Implementing a national data element standardization and registration strategy [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web: cals-expo93-paper.html
This paper proposes a strategy for establishing a national data element standardization and registration service, built upon a proposed universal data naming and classification framework.

6.7 Museum Informatics

Bearman, D., & Perkins, J. (1993, May). Standards framework for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information [On-line]. First Edition. Museum Computer Network. Available on the World Wide Web:
The Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI) is an initiative launched by the Museum Computer Network, with the intent of developing standards for the exchange of electronic data between museums. This document identifies the type of information interchange in which museums engage, examines existing standards to see how they can serve museums, and recommends a standards framework for museum information interchange, encompassing interchange protocols, formats, and network and telecommunications building blocks. Further information about CIMI can be obtained through the CIMI Consortium Home Page (

6.8 Name Specifications

Deutsch, P., Schoultz, R., Faltstrom, P., & Weider, C. (1995, August). Architecture of the WHOIS++ service: Request for comments 1835 [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
This RFC describes an extension to the WHOIS service (described in RFC 954) in order to permit servers to make more structured information available to the Internet. The WHOIS++ service is intended to make structured information regarding users available for search over the Internet in a distributed manner, allowing White Pages services to be developed.
International Organization for Standardization, Joint Technical Committee 1 / Subcommittee 21 (1995). ISO/IEC 9594-1: 1995: Information technology -- Open Systems Interconnection -- The Directory: Overview of concepts, models and services. Geneva: International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC).
The ISO/IEC version of the x.500 directory services standard, also available from the International Telecommunication Union as X.500 (11/93). X.500 is designed to allow the implementation of a global Directory Service in a distributed manner, allowing for white or yellow pages services in which information is globally distributed and accessible, but locally controlled.
International Telecommunication Union (1993, November). I nformation technology - Open Systems Interconnection - The directory: Overview of concepts, models and services. Geneva: Author.
The X.500 standard (also available from ISO as ISO/IEC 9594-1: 1995) specifies a standard for a global, distributed directory service. Information on obtaining the standard may be found at
Internet Mail Consortium (n.d.). PDI product developers information [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
This page provides a variety of links regarding vCard, a specification designed to enable Personal Data Interchange (PDI) of the type of information typically found on a business card through electronic means. The Internet Mail Consortium is working with the Internet Engineering Task Force on the definition of a MIME type for vCard data. This page provides links to software developers' kits for vCard, to the full text of the vCard 2.1 specification, and to mailing lists regarding vCard.
NEXOR (1997, May 2). X.500 Directory Standard [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
A comprehensive WWW site regarding the X.500 standard, with links to overviews of the standard, implementors' guides, associated specifications, and other information.
Weider, C., Fullton, J., & Spero, S. (1996, February). Architecture of the Whois++ index service: Request for comments 1913 [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
"The WHOIS++ directory service ... is intended to provide a simple, extensible directory service predicated on a template-based information model and a flexible query language. This document describes a general architecture designed for indexing distributed databases, and then applys that architecture to link together many of these WHOIS++ servers into a distributed, searchable wide area directory service." This RFC outlines a mechanism for tieing together the WHOIS++ servers described in RFC 1835 in order to provide a single, distributed database for searching.

6.9 Resource Description Messages

Guha, R. V. (1997, March 11). Meta content framework [On-line]. Available on the World Wide Web:
Meta Content Format (MCF) is intended to provide a system for representing a range of information about the content of electronic resources, or more succinctly, a common format for the expression of metadata. A whitepaper describing more of the rationale behind MCF can be found at
Hardy, D. (1996, July 24). Resource Description Messages (RDM): W3C NOTE 24-Jul-96 [On-line]. World Wide Web Consortium. Available on the World Wide Web:
This draft note from the World Wide Web Consortium describes a possible mechanism for the discovery and retrieval of metadata about network-accessible resources. RDM employs the Summary Object Interchange Format (SOIF) and Harvest Gatherer command language of the Harvest system (see for more information regarding Harvest).

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