Texas Digital Library Conference System, TCDL 2012

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Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard
Leta Negandhi

Last modified: 2012-04-16


The Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) was created to encode metadata for objects in digital libraries. In accordance with the rapidly changing technical landscape, more information is digitally created and converted from analog to digital formats. Users expect information to be digitally available, and more and more digital libraries are being developed to meet this need. This poster contains a look at METS history, it’s use of the World Wide Web Conventions (W3C) XML schema, it’s seven main elements, example of a METS profile, and a look at how some institutions have successfully used METS.

METS is a useful tool for digital library metadata creation because:
1. It provides for descriptive, administrative, and technical metadata.
2. It uses the WC3’s XML schema conventions, which allow for not only simple text to be included in the metadata, but also uniform resource identifiers (URI’s). This allows METS to directly link to digital content that supports or helps with describing a digital object.
3. It uses only seven main elements: header, structural map, file section, structural link, behavior section, descriptive metadata, and administrative metadata. Each element has it’s own declaration markup tag and descriptive attributes. These elements can be put in any order, repeated, removed, and new elements can be created as suits the library’s needs. This makes METS ideal as a crosswalk between metadata schemas and as a supplement to other schemas.

METS is still in development by the Digital Library Federation. It is hosted by the Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/. This site has a list of registered profiles and other support materials such as a listserv and a wiki. METS is a fully supported, active, and well-used schema. It is an excellent tool for digital libraries to use when creating digital collection and sharing metadata.


metadata standards, metadata, METS, schema, XML