Metadata Standards

Data Value Standards (Controlled Vocabularies)

Getty Research Institute, Getty Vocabularies
Art & Architecture Thesaurus Online

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online

Cultural Objects Name Authority Online

Union List of Artist Names Online

Library of Congress Resources

Library of Congress Name and Subject Authorities

Thesaurus for Graphic Materials

LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies (Includes Name, Subject, Genre and TGM)

GNIS and GeoNET (To find geographic names that are not already in the authority file):

Virtual Internet Authority File (VIAF)
Implemented and hosted by OCLC, it is a joint project of several national libraries plus selected regional and trans-national library agencies. The project’s goal is to lower the cost and increase the utility of library authority files by matching and linking widely-used authority files and making that information available on the Web.

British Museum Object Names Thesaurus

Rare Books and Manuscripts section: RBMS Vocabularies

Data Content Standards (Cataloging Rules and Syntax)

Cataloging Cultural Objects

Cataloging Graphic Materials: Rules for Describing Original Items and Historical Collections. Originally compiled by Elizabeth Betz in 1982.

Anglo American Cataloging Rules, 2nd ed.  (AACR2)
Note: Effective April 1, 2013, online access to AACR2 will be exclusive to RDA Toolkit

Resource Description and Access. RDA Toolkit

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)

What is FRBR? (Article by Barbara Tillet, 2003)

International Bibliographic Standards (ISBD)
Rules for descriptions of bibliographic resources in catalogs.

Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)

CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM)
Provides definitions and a formal structure for describing the implicit and explicit concepts and relationships used in cultural heritage documentation.

Data Structure Standards (Field and Record Structure)

Dublin Core

VRA Core

CDWA (Categories for the Description of Works of Art)

Under development
Cataloging in the Cloud: Shared Shelf and ArchaeoCore, Visual Resources Bulletin, 2012)

Darwin Core
Extended from Dublin Core for the exchange of biodiversity information.

A metadata standard for audiovisual media developed by the public broadcasting community.

Data Communication Standards (Transmission and Record Interchange)


Open Archives Initiative
The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content (via data harvesting).

LIDO is an XML harvesting schema promoted by CIDOC and used with museum data.

Metadata Schemas in XML

VRA Core 4.0 XML

Simple and Qualified Dublin Core (DC) XML

The XML markup for use with CDWA

MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema)
XML markup for selected metadata from existing MARC 21 records as well as original resource description.

MADS (Metadata Authority Description Standard)

EAD (Encoded Archival Description)
XML markup designed for encoding finding aids

METS (Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard)
Structure for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata


Other Digital Library Standards (for technical and administrative metadata)

MIX (NISO Metadata for Images in XML)
XML schema for encoding technical data elements required to manage digital image collections

PREMIS (Preservation Metadata)
A data dictionary and supporting XML schemas for core preservation metadata needed to support the long-term preservation of digital materials.

AudioMD and VideoMD
XML Schemas that detail technical metadata for audio- and video-based digital objects.

Zoe Waldron, updated 02/20/2013