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    Minnesota Metadata Guidelines - Dublin Core   

    What is metadata? 

    The Foundations Project has developed information architecture to improve public access to environmental information within Minnesota State agencies. Called the Minnesota Metadata Guidelines - Dublin Core, this information architecture also enhances Internet search and retrieval accuracy. The guidelines include the following: 15 qualified metatag elements known as the Dublin Core, the Legislative Indexing Vocabluary thesaurus, the Ultraseek search engine, TagGen metatagging software, and the processes for incorporation of metadata into electronic resources. The latter is called Best Practice Guidelines for Web Metadata. 

    For more information, please see the Minnesota Historical Society's Metadata Resources site.  An annotated list of pointers to other Internet sites can be found here, which deal with a variety of metadata-related topics including the Dublin Core (DS), GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and GILS (Global/Government Information Locator Services). 

    Metadata and the Dublin Core Elements 

    Metadata is data that describes information or data associated with an object that describes it. As metadata is stored within the <HEAD> area of a Web page, it is not visible to Web browsers. This embedding in the page also allows the metadata to remain current when the document is created, moved or updated. 

    The ability to search and find information is enhanced by controlled vocabularies linked to the metadata elements. In addition, as metadata is combined with controlled subject indexes, it allows more precise searching and document management. 

    The Foundations Project has adopted the 15-element metadata set called the Dublin Core for describing network-accessible materials. This core set of metadata elements is defined by the Dublin Core Working Group. Endorsed by  the W3 Consortium in 1998, it has been approved as National Information Standards Institute (NISO) standard number Z39.85 as well as receiving American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval. 

    As the collection of electronic documents on Minnesota Agency Internets (and intranets) grows, metadata is emerging as a powerful tool to find useful information. Placed in Web pages, metadata will allow information to be found more easily and accurately. It also can be used for records management and archiving. Metadata  helps search accuracy on commercial search engines, too. Finally, the guidelines allow standards to be developed that relate to electronic document cataloging, retrieval or archiving using Dublin Core Elements. 

    Qualified Dublin Core and the Minnesota Metadata Guidelines - DC 

    There are several reasons for adopting Dublin Core in Minnesota: 

    • Dublin Core is easy to create and provides uncomplicated descriptions.
    • Dublin Core is simple to index and use for describing a resource's location, form, etc.
    • Dublin Core offers controlled vocabularies that enable greater searching precision than full text searches.
    • Dublin Core is a standard agreed upon by the W3C.
    • Dublin Core offers extensibility and interoperability with other standards.
    • Dubin Core enhances the quality of resource management.
    As Dublin Core is a descriptive list of 15 elements embedded in a Minnesota electronic government resource, it is of great value to searchers and record managers. These metadata elements fall into three groups that roughly indicate the class or scope of information stored in them: (1) elements related mainly to the Content of the resource,(2) elements related mainly to the resource when viewed as Intellectual Property, (3) elements related mainly to the Instantiation of the resource. 

    1. Content: Title, Subject, Description, Source, Language, Relation, Coverage 
    2. Intellectual Property: Creator, Publisher, Contributor, Rights 
    3. Instantiation: Date, Type, Format, Identifier 

    The 15 Dublin Core Elements 

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    Updated April 13, 2006