Metadata Principle 5

Metadata Principle 5: Good metadata supports the long-term management, curation, and preservation of objects in collections.

Administrative metadata is information intended to facilitate the management of resources. It includes information such as when and how an object was created, who is responsible for controlling access to or archiving the content, what processing activities have been performed in relation to it, and what restrictions on access or use apply.

Technical metadata and preservation metadata are particular types of administrative metadata. Technical metadata describes digital files and includes capture information, format, file size, checksum, sampling frequencies, and similar characteristics. Technical metadata may be necessary to ensure the continued usability of an object, or to reconstruct the object if it is damaged.

Preservation metadata supports the long-term retention of digital objects. It may include detailed technical metadata as well as information related to the object’s context and relationships, custody and change history, processing, storage and status. It should, therefore, be compatible with the collections management workflow of the archiving institution. In some cases, this may require a negotiation to resolve institutional workflow and digital object descriptions.

Recordkeeping metadata documents and facilitates the systematic creation, use, maintenance, and disposition of records to meet administrative, programmatic, legal, and financial needs and responsibilities. It is of primary interest to archivist and records managers.

Structural metadata relates the pieces of a compound object together and/or bundles related objects into a package. For example, if a book is digitized as individual page images, structural metadata can record information concerning the order of files (page numbering) and how they relate to the logical structure of the book (table of contents) is also required.

Preservation metadata:

  • Library of Congress, PREMIS Preservation Metadata Maintenance Activity website The PREMIS Data Dictionary is a core set of metadata elements for preservation, with “core” being defined as “what most preservation repositories will need to know, most of the time.” PREMIS has become the de facto standard for basic preservation metadata in the English-speaking world. It has an active maintenance activity and implementers group. 
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, LMER Long-term Preservation Metadata for Electronic Resources website A schema used in Germany in preference to PREMIS. 
  • Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI) website Includes an extensive annotated listing of resources related to preservation metadata.  

Technical metadata:

  • ANSI/NISO Z39.87-2006, Data Dictionary—Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images One of the few formal standards for technical metadata. It focuses on images created by scanning. The XML expression of this data set is the MIX schema ( 
  • In development are two AES standards for administrative metadata (roughly speaking, the equivalent of the NISO imaging data dictionary and MIX): AES-X098B, Audio Object Schema, and AES-X098C, Process History Schema.  
  • JHOVE - JSTOR/Harvard Object Validation Environment website JHOVE is an open source tool for automated extraction of technical metadata which focuses on open audio, video, image, and text formats. 
  • National Library of New Zealand, Metadata Extraction Tool (2007) http://meta- This  is an open source tool for automated extraction of technical metadata that includes handling formats created by common office applications.

Recordkeeping metadata:

Structural metadata:


Comment: Updated link for "ANSI/NISO Z39.87-2006" by karen.wetzel on 09/03/2008
The following updated link was added:

This updates ANSI/NISO Z39.87-2006, Data Dictionary´┐ŻTechnical Metadata for Digital Still Images (previously
Last updated: 09/03/2008