DLF Digital Library Assessment Metadata Working Group DLF

DLF Metadata Assessment Working Group


Publications and Presentations of Note

This work began in 2016 and was originally published as part of an Environmental Scan of Metadadata Assessement (Archived). We continue to actively collect citations of interest in the Metadata Assessment Zotero Group and welcome any additions or updates. This group intends to periodically review the citations for additions to the Publications and Presentations sections below.


The group initially surveyed more than 50 documents in 2016 produced as early as 2002, ranging from journal articles, white papers, and reports to blog posts and wikis. In 2019, the group reviewed more than 100 articles added to the Metadata Assessment Zotero Group since 2016 to determine if changes or additions should be made to this list of publications of note.

Metadata assessment involves articulating conceptual criteria and frameworks as well as developing actionable methods to collect specific information about collections. The documents we surveyed tend to focus on the following themes:

Exploring what metadata quality means in large-scale aggregators, such as Europeana and DPLA, is another topic discussed in recent work.

Bruce and Hillmann’s 2004 article, “The Continuum of Metadata Quality,” which defines a framework with seven categories of metadata quality (completeness, accuracy, conformance to expectations, logical consistency, accessibility, timeliness, provenance), is particularly noteworthy for influencing the subject’s subsequent exploration.

In 2013, Hillmann and Bruce revisited their original framework in the context of the linked open data environment, highlighting additional considerations such as licensing, correct/consistent data modeling, and the implications of linked data technology on definitions of metadata quality.

A common theme across the publications we reviewed is the subjective nature of “quality,” since its definition is dependent upon local context and content as well as institutional goals. According to Hillmann and Bruce (2013), conceptual criteria are “the lenses that help us know quality when we see it.” Through building a community of practice for assessing metadata quality, we will be better positioned to have a shared vision, one that provides for the sustainability of our resources and meets the needs of our users and systems.

Publications of Note

We have identified a sub-selection of these articles, listed below, which we recommend as good starting points for librarians interested in learning about metadata assessment. The articles review foundational concepts, present sound frameworks for analysis, cover particular common aspects of assessment, and/or have been influential in other research.

Presentations of Note