Using Dublin Core for Cartographic Materials:

Final Report of the MAGERT CCC Task Force

The Task Force on Using Dublin Core for Cartographic Materials was established by the MAGERT Cataloging and Classification Committee at Midwinter 2000 in San Antonio, and was constituted then and in the following months with the following members: David Allen, Paula Moehle Church, Nancy Kandoian (chair), Scott McEathron, Susan Moore, and Andrea Tully. Ellen Caplan served as the OCLC liaison and Barbara Story, as chair of the Cataloging and Classification Committee, served as an ex officio member. David Allen was the impetus behind the formation of the Task Force because of his interest in creating map records in OCLC. s Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC), and he helped move things along with his specific questions about DC elements and suggestions for how to apply them to cartographic materials.

The charge to the Task Force was:

The MAGERT Cataloging and Classification Committee. s Task Force on Using Dublin Core for Cartographic Materials is charged with studying how the Dublin Core framework can best be applied to cartographic materials, in particular for cataloging cartographic materials on the Internet. If appropriate, the Task Force should suggest additions or modifications to the Dublin Core so that it can better describe and provide access to these materials. The Task Force will present an interim report to MAGERT. s Cataloging and Classification Committee at the ALA Annual Meeting in Chicago, July 2000. The final report will be due at the Midwinter Meeting in Washington, January 2001.

The Task Force met once at the Annual Meeting and conducted many of its discussions via email. It also solicited input from map librarians, CORC users, and Dublin Core people via online discussion groups. The final meeting at the Midwinter Conference was open and attended by more than twenty interested individuals. Only three Task Force members and the ex officio member were able to attend. Many issues were discussed via email and at the Midwinter meeting; however, no consensus developed.

One major area of concern in using Dublin Core for cartographic materials was the concept of scale and how it applied to digitized cartographic materials. Some felt that scale is not as applicable in a digitized environment while others felt that for some digital resources, scale is a significant point of interest. Given this discrepancy, there was no agreement as to whether scale should be an element in the Dublin Core or if it should be included within the Description element. Dates are an issue of concern in the Dublin Core for many materials and cartographic materials are no exception. The Task Force also discussed the role of coordinates in the element "Coverage" under the "Spatial" qualifier and again, came to no agreement. Differing viewpoints within these issues led discussion back to the concept of the Dublin Core as a simplified metadata format that is becoming increasingly complex.

Given the lack of consensus, the Task Force chooses to make no recommendations on developments to the Dublin Core at this time. There are avenues that exist for making recommendations and/or changes to the Dublin Core that are open to the grass roots users of the Dublin Core and users of library applications such as CORC. There is a Libraries Working Group within the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (see which anyone can join by way of the online discussion list. Within CORC, Special Interest Groups are being formed that are focusing on specific applications or formats. One group that is planned on being formed is a group for cartographic/geospatial concerns. Suzanne Pilsk attended the meeting at Midwinter and announced that Betsy Friesen ( is the coordinator of the special interest groups. The SIGS will meet on Sunday, January 14, 2001 from 10-12. Eric Childress from OCLC also attended the Midwinter meeting and answered several questions from the Task Force.

Not all members of the Task Force were able to contribute to this report so we submit it with the understanding that not all viewpoints may be reflected here. We encourage them and other MAGERT members to become involved in the development of the Dublin Core through the mechanisms given above or through other avenues as they become available.

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Kandoian, chair
Susan Moore, member
January 13, 2001