Objects Principle 6

Objects Principle 6: A good object has associated metadata.

A good object will have descriptive and administrative metadata, and compound objects will have structural metadata to document the relationships between components of the object and ensure proper presentation and use of the components.

Metadata can often be embedded within an object and can be harvested for resource discovery and management purposes. Metadata can also be stored separately and linked to the resources described. Best practice is to encourage object creators to provide metadata at the time of object creation and to embed as much metadata in the object as feasible to increase portability and preservability. Examples of embedded metadata include META tags in web pages, XMP packets in PDF files, and UUID boxes in JP2 files. Whether embedded or not, metadata accessibility is critical and users must be able to read and understand metadata for them to be of value.

A good object may have more than one set of metadata associated with it, each reflecting the purposes of the individuals or organizations associated with it. For example, a creator may provide descriptive metadata at the time of object creation, while a publisher may supply administrative and structural metadata for managing and displaying the object. All of these metadata can be embedded in the object or stored separately and linked, directly or indirectly, to the object.

Objects and metadata can be packaged together in standardized containers, essentially creating new objects. Container standards used for digital collections and digital preservation include:

For more information see METADATA.


Last updated: 04/17/2008