Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Dublin Core, DSpace, and a Brief Analysis of Three University Repositories

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Dublin Core, DSpace, and a Brief Analysis of Three University Repositories

Article excerpt

This paper provides an overview of Dublin Core (DC) and DSpace together with an examination of the institutional repositories of three public research universities. The universities all use DC and DSpace to create and manage their repositories. I drew a sampling of records from each repository and examined them for metadata quality using the criteria of completeness, accuracy, and consistency. I also examined the quality of records with reference to the methods of educating repository users. One repository used librarians to oversee the archiving process, while the other two employed two different strategies as part of the self-archiving process. The librarian-overseen archive had the most complete and accurate records for DSpace entries.


The last quarter of the twentieth century has seen the birth, evolution, and explosive proliferation of a bewildering variety of new data types and formats. Digital text and images, audio and video files, spreadsheets, websites, interactive databases, RSS feeds, streaming live video, computer programs, and macros are merely a few examples of the kinds of data that can be now found on the Web and elsewhere. These new dataforms do not always conform to conventional cataloging formats. In an attempt to bring some sort of order from chaos, the concept of metadata (literally "data about data") arose. Metadata is, according to ALA, "structured, encoded data that describe characteristics of information-bearing entities to aid in the identification, discovery, assessment, and management of the described entities." (1)

Metadata is an attempt to capture the contextual information surrounding a datum. The enriching contextual information assists the data user to understand how to use the original datum. Metadata also attempts to bridge the semantic gap between machine users of data and human users of the same data.

Dublin Core

Dublin Core (DC) is a metadata schema that arose from an invitational workshop sponsored by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in 1995. "Dublin" refers to the location of this original meeting in Dublin, Ohio, and "Core" refers to that fact DC is set of metadata elements that are basic, but expandable.

DC draws upon concepts from many disciplines, including librarianship, computer science, and archival preservation.

The standards and definitions of the DC element sets have been developed and refined by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) with an eye to interoperability. DCMI maintains a website ( documents/dces/) that hosts the current definitions of all the DC elements and their properties.

DC is a set of fifteen basic elements plus three additional elements. All elements are both optional and repeatable. The basic DC elements are:

1. Title

2. Creator

3. Subject

4. Description

5. Publisher

6. Contributor

7. Date

8. Type

9. Format

10. Identifier

11. Source

12. Language

13. Relation

14. Coverage

15. Rights

The additional DC Elements are:

16. Audience

17. Provenance

18. Rights Holder

DC allows for element refinements (or subfields) that narrow the meaning of an element, making it more specific. The use of these refinements is not required. DC also allows for the addition of nonstandard elements for local use.


DSpace is an open-source software package that provides management tools for digital assets. It is frequently used to create and manage institutional repositories.

First released in 2002, DSpace is a joint development effort of Hewlett Packard (HP) Labs and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Today, DSpace's future is guided by a loose grouping of interested developers called the DSpace Committers Group, whose members currently include HP Labs, MIT, OCLC, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the Australian National University, and Texas A&M University. …

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