Metadata Glossary

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Controlled Vocabulary
a way of controlling or limiting the terms that are used in a statement


Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
DCMI Abstract Model
This model goes from the smallest unit, the property or value, to the largest, the vocabulary scheme. Any metadata scheme can be built on this model.
DCMI Description Set Model
The set of descriptions made up of element-value pairs (statements) about a resource makes up a metadata record.
A single statement has one property (element) and one value.
A value has a literal and a non-literal element.
One and only one description set makes up a metadata record. The description set is made up of one or more descriptions, which are composed of one or more statements.
Dublin Core
See About Dublin Core


a category of statement
Element-Value Pair
the totality of the statement
Entity & Relationships
Term Info Sci
Scope note Study of gathering, etc. info
Broader term (fields & disciplines)
Narrower term Archival Science, Informatics, etc.
Related terms Cognitive Science, Computer Sci., etc.
Use for Library & Info Science, etc.


"Data about Data", in other words, data that describes some data item
Metadata Schema
An organized, formal framework for metadata descriptors, a metadata schema controls the kinds of statements you can even make.
"schema" is a formally-defined set of metadata elements. The meaning (semantics) of the elements are predefined, constraining the kinds of statements that can be made about a resource. There are usually requirements or recommendations for how to select values for elements.


A "space" in which a set of identifiers are defined.
Examples of namespaces include social security numbers, and complete physical addresses. A namespace is a conceptual set of rules for defining unique identifiers for a set of objects. A synonym for a particular instantiation of a namespace is 'unique identifier'.


A Web application for using and sharing metadata
In IS & CS, the term is related to, but not quite the same as in philosophy.
IS & CS tend to to include the entire universe, while philosophy is concerned with everything. So, in IS & CS, 'ontology' goes beyond a thesaurus in terms of controlled vocabulary.
They have a list of terms used in a domain, but go beyond hierarchies to include more complicated relationships between/among the terms included in the definition.
Ontologies can also include 'inferences' or rules that define what additional facts can be implied if other facts are known.
Ontologies can be used to develop computer algorithms.

"An ontology defines a common vocabulary for researchers who need to share information in

a domain. It includes machine-interpretable definitions of basic concepts in the domain and

relations among them."

- Noy & McGuinness, Ontology Development 101


Opensource software (on the Web or as a cross-platform download) for developing ontologies


a way or system that describes how things are related. has a comprehensive list of metadata schemas.


data provided in the statement or element