Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Qualified Dublin Core and the Scholarly Works Application Profile: A Practical Comparison

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Qualified Dublin Core and the Scholarly Works Application Profile: A Practical Comparison

Article excerpt


Dublin Core began as a conversation but with time became one of the most widely used metadata standards in the world. In 1994 key figures Yuri Rubinsky of SoftQuad, Stuart Weibel and Eric Miller, Terry Noreault, of the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), and Joseph Hardin, of the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) met at a conference and had an informal discussion about the difficulties of finding information on the web (Dublin Core Metadata Initiative [DCMI], n.d.c). At the time, there were two main methods of resource description for digital documents, neither of which were designed with the intricacies of the internet in mind (Zeng & Qin, 2008, p. 17). This conversation led to a workshop in 1995 in Dublin, Ohio led by the NCSA and OCLC that was composed of professionals in librarianship, computer science, text encoding, and the museum community. At this meeting the focus of conversation was on the creation of a metadata standard that instead of being adapted for use on the internet would be specifically designed for it. The results of this workshop were named Dublin Core metadata

The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) is composed of the elements "title," "description," "type," "subject," "source," "relation," "coverage," "creator," "publisher," "rights," "contributor," "date," "format," "identifier," and "language" (Dublin Core Metadata Initiative [DCMI], n.d.b). These elements represent three types of metadata, content, intellectual property and instantiation. Content is represented by the elements "title," "description," "type," "subject," "source," "relation," and "coverage." Intellectual property is represented with the elements "creator," "publisher," "rights," and "contributor." Instantiation is then represented with the elements "date," "format," "identifier," and "language." All 15 core elements are optional, repeatable, and can be arranged in any order (Zeng & Qing, 2008, p. 18).

This project focuses on a comparison between records created for scholarly articles using Qualified Dublin Core and records for the same articles created using the Scholarly Works Application Profile (SWAP). For the first half of this project, Qualified Dublin Core was chosen instead of Simplified Dublin Core for creating records, as it includes terms that narrow the 15 original elements to more specific information and includes controlled vocabulary as well as formatting guidelines (DCMI Usage Board, 2012). Although Qualified Dublin Core offers far more refinements than the original, application profiles are frequently created by communities with specific information needs that even Qualified Dublin Core cannot fulfill. SWAP is one of these profiles that have been created to fulfill the metadata needs of the academic community. This application profile includes uniquely refined elements as well as specific guidelines for utilizing each of them. This comparison strives to explore whether SWAP does indeed create higher quality records that better fit the needs of academia, or if Qualified Dublin Core is more than enough if not superior.

Relevant Literature

The current literature surrounding Dublin Core suggests that is widely known and used all over the world for various reasons. According to Zeng and Qin (2008), "The Dublin Core has the most mapped element sets among and across domain-specific and communityorientated metadata standards," possibly explaining why it is so widely used (p. 16). In addition, the same authors note that Dublin Core's basic description mechanism "... was designed to be simple and powerful, able to be used in all domains, applicable to any type of resource and extensible enough to work for specific solutions" (p. 18). In other words, because Dublin Core was designed to be simple and apply to any situation or resource, it could be adopted by any organization in need of metadata standards for a project. These principles are reflected in the DCMI Abstract Model, which provided a shared data model that enables interoperability at a high level (pg. …

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