projects->Metadata Quality Benchmarks

This site is dedicated to the study of benchmarks in metadata quality. As a part of the Digital Library Federation Forum Assessment Interest Group Metadata Working Group, the Metadata Quality Benchmarks subgroup formed in early 2018.

Metadata Benchmarks Survey

This survey was open May 23-July 10, 2019 and responses are being analyzed.

As a part of the Digital Library Federation Forum Assessment Interest Group Metadata Working Group, the Metadata Quality Benchmarks subgroup created this survey to investigate metadata quality and how it is measured in libraries, archives, and museums. The goal of this survey was to gain insight into participant’s methods and criteria for evaluating metadata quality and to identify potential gaps in present knowledge and practices.

This survey was open to anyone self-identifying as a metadata professional who is currently employed in a library, archive, museum or other cultural heritage institution. Specifically, eligible participants for this study were individuals with some responsibility for metadata management and/or creation for a digital repository.

A PDF copy of the survey is available.


Aggregation Project: Organization or other body that collects metadata, or metadata and digital objects, from multiple sources and other organizations for the sake of unified presentation, discovery, and collocation of the described resources. Aggregators could include organizations that regularly or in an automated fashion retrieve metadata from known sources, or they could include organizations that collect and expose contributed metadata from partners (or any mix therein). Example(s): DPLA, SHARE.

Digital Collections: A collection of digital resources collected and managed by an organization with metadata about those resources made accessible via an online interface. Resources are typically digitized cultural heritage, primary-source material that would otherwise be inaccessible without physically visiting the local organization, or unique born-digital resources.

Digital Content: All digital materials produced or collected by an organization, including both primary source material and scholarly research.

Digital Library Consortium: A group of digital libraries, typically from a particular geographic region (state or multi-state), with digital content which is harvested from local DAMS to a consolidated discovery system. For example, the Mountain West Digital Library, Digital Library of Georgia.

Element: A designated part, aspect, or attribute of a metadata record or more generic dataset. Examples: Dublin Core Metadata set (dc:title) ; CSV header of your local spreadsheet.

Institutional Repository: A regularly maintained online platform where digital resources and their metadata are made accessible via an online interface. Resources are typically produced by the organization itself and/or created by its constituents or members. Typically these repositories include, but are not limited to, scholarly works and related material, e.g. articles, datasets, monographs, and theses.

Metadata Benchmarks: Criteria to measure metadata quality in comparison with a standard of metadata quality set by a collective of organizations.

Metadata Application Profile: A set of metadata elements, properties, and attributes with definitions and requirements (e.g., obligation, range, cardinality) that provides an overview of usage for a particular user community or domain. MAPs could be machine-readable (as in the DCMI usage of the term) or they could be human readable documentation (examples being a lot of the PCDM profiles, DPLA MAP, or other).

Metadata Schema: Technical or semantic metadata guidelines for a particular system or domain.

Metadata Standard: A set of metadata elements and definitions agreed upon by a particular domain or community for a particular purpose.

Non-MARC Metadata: Metadata schema that are commonly used for digital content. Examples include: Dublin Core, MODS, Visual Resource Administration (VRA) Core, etc.

Repository: Collections of items managed by a single metadata application profile (MAP) or schema. Includes digital collections, institutional repositories, and aggregation projects.


Please contact the Metadata Quality Benchmarks co-leaders of this study with any questions.

Rachel Wittmann, Digital Curation Librarian
Marriott Library, University of Utah

Andrea Payant, Metadata Librarian
Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University