Choosing a metadata format

  • 11 April 2023
  • 2 replies


Question: We’re a public library with a fairly large collection of local history related materials… photographs, documents, etc. that we’re in the process of digitizing. We want to choose a metadata format before uploading to Preservica, but struggling with which format to choose. Logic says perhaps Dublin Core is the best choice… but as I look at the templates, MODS might be a good choice, as well. I realize we could even create our own but I’m convinced that working with an existing industry standard sustainable format would be in our best interest. Any thoughts or guidance for best practices or industry standards?? Thanks!!

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According to "Metadata Application Profiles in U. S. Academic Libraries: A Document Analysis" (Ashlea M. Green 2021), Dublin Core was the most popular schema used in their analysis, with MODS being second. That said, my impression is that each institution usually picks what is most applicable and useful for their collection type, not what is most popular. Or, they may combine schemas, such as using DC or MODS, but adding VRA Core for images or PBCore for AV. I wish I could tell you how we picked MODS, but those of us working now came on board after the schema was already chosen. If I had to guess, I'd guess that MODS is more robust and offers more options than DC, and MODS is easily mapped to MARC when needed. However, being more complex can sometimes be burdensome. 

I don't know if any of this literature will be helpful for you in your decision-making process, but I'll share a few readings I found useful:

Best of luck!

---kate s.


Thanks, Kate - I appreciate the info!