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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Omeka: Metadata and Content Organization Guide: Metadata

What is Metadata?

Information about an item

Structured information that makes it easier to understand, retrieve, use or manage an information resource.

Standardized metadata allows different computer systems to share information across a network.

Examples of familiar metadata usage:

  •    Information on a map
  •    Tagging on Facebook
  •    Captioning a photograph



Using Dublin Core Elements

Dublin Core is the metadata standard used by Omeka for describing contributed digital items. 

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Guide

Dublin Core User Guide

Working with Dublin Core

Dublin Core Elements


Metadata FieldDescription
Title Name of the resource.
Subject Use Library of Congress Subject Headings (The LC Suggests plugin is located here or you can use the LC Authorities Subject search here.)
Description Description of the item. Be as descriptive as possible, because this is the main text searchable field that users can look to in searching. What is it? What does it depict?
Creator The person, organization, or service that made the object. Add these as last name, first name. If there are multiple creators, add a second field for the second one, do not put two names in one field.
Source Describes the resource from which this item was taken.
Publisher Person or source responsible for making the resource available
Date If the object has a specific date, add it in the YYYY-MM-DD format. If you know only a partial date, add what you know.
Contributor Who made contributions to the resource. (Examples, illustrator or translator)
Rights Indicate the copyright status of the item, provide links to the archive or other repository that owns the original. (Example, Creative Commons or UMW).
Relation Is the item part of or related to another item?
Format Describe the digital item in general terms (Examples, jpg or mp3)
Language The language of the item.
Type Select from the list of item types. See Omeka's Guide to Managing Types
Identifier Unique way to identify the item. If none, leave this field blank.
Coverage Spatial or time covered by the item.

Item Type Metadata

Text Transcription Tips

  • Don’t worry about formatting.
  • Transcribe words as they are spelled or abbreviated. Resist the temptation to correct what you see in the document, and do not correct spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Do not transcribe text that has been crossed out.
  • Do not transcribe hyphens or spaces in words that occur at line breaks.
  • Indicate if you can’t decipher a word. If you are unsure of a word or phrase, please use [illegible], or your best guess followed by a question mark within brackets [Chattanooga?], or even [town?] or [name?].
  • Make a note of sketches or non-textual images on the page. When you see a sketch or picture on the page, please use the word "image" placed in double brackets: [[image]] – you may also describe the sketch like [[bird – image]].
  • Transcribe simple forms. Please try to transcribe all elements of the document, including typewritten text that may appear in a table, form, etc. Don’t worry about formatting the transcription. If a page is entirely typewritten, do not transcribe it.
  • Consider the context. If you’re having trouble with a word or passage, read “around” it and think about what a likely word would be, or look for other letters and spellings in the document that are similar.
  • Indicate when there are multiple pages. If an image has two pages: when you reach the bottom of the first page, write [[end page]]. Then write [[start page]] and continue transcribing.

Tips adapted from the Smithsonian Institution's Transcription Center and the University of Iowa Libraries' DIY History initiative.