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Dublin Core

Date added 1 October 2007
Last edited 21 December 2009

Full Title

Dublin Core Metadata Element Set


The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set is a basic standard which can be easily understood and implemented, and as such is one of the best known metadata standards. It was originally developed, in 1995, as a core set of elements for describing the content of web pages and enabling their search and retrieval. The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set consists of 15 elements which address the most basic descriptive, administrative and technical elements required to uniquely identify a digital resource. The emphasis is now on supporting resource discovery across domains.

Most resource discovery metadata standards can be mapped to the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, enabling basic federated searching across metadata, created using a number of different standards, without detracting from richer metadata held elsewhere. A draft specification for expressing Dublin Core in XML is available from the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI).

DCMI develops and maintains a suite of inter-related Standards. It coordinates a number of working groups who collaborate to develop a metadata registry which supports extended and qualified profiles of Dublin Core, tailored to the needs of a number of different communities or functions. These include Dublin Core Collection Description Application Profile (for describing whole collections) and Dublin Core Library Application Profile (for describing published library holdings).

Standards Developing Organisations



[To be added]

Lifecycle Actions

Access, Use and Reuse
Create or Receive
Description and Representation Information

Standard Frameworks

Digital Archive Standards
Digital Repository Standards
Electronic Records Management Standards

Standard Type

Metadata Structure Standards

Current Version

Further Information

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative [external]
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative homepage.
DCMI Metadata Terms [external]
All metadata terms maintained by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative.
Expressing Simple Dublin Core in RDF/XML [external]
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative recommendations.

Alternative Current Version

2007 - ANSI/NISO Z39.85, The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set [external PDF]
Fully revised and reissued in 2007 to take account of the Dublin Core Namespace Policy (DCMI Namespace).

Previous Versions

Referenced Standards

DCMI Abstract Model
DCMI Encoding Guidelines
DCMI Type Vocabulary
Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
IANA: Mime Media Types
IETF RFC 3968: Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic
IETF RFC 4646: Tags for Identifying Languages
W3C Note: Date and Time Formats