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From the Introduction to the Digital Library Federation / Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for Shareable MODS Records

The primary goal of the Digital Library Federation’s Aquifer Initiative is to enable distributed content to be used effectively by libraries and scholars for teaching, learning, and research. The provision of rich, shareable metadata for this distributed content is an important step towards this goal.

To this end, the Metadata Working Group of the DLF Aquifer Initiative has developed a set of implementation guidelines of the Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) specifically for use in describing digital cultural heritage and humanities-based scholarly resources that are to be shared within the Aquifer Initiative and beyond. The authors of the implementation guidelines are aware that the requirements and recommendations set forth are not currently met by most current and potential Aquifer participants. However, we developed these as a set of guidelines for creating rich, shareable metadata that is coherent and consistent, and, thus, useful to aggregators and end users. We do not intend these guidelines to dictate local metadata practices, but we do hope that these guidelines will help Aquifer participants share metadata among themselves and with other institutions.

  • The joint DLF and NSDL Best Practices for Shareable Metadata document provides overall guidance on interoperability of metadata. We recommend that metadata authors be familiar with these best practices in addition to these implementation guidelines. Other guiding principles and conditions that have informed the DLF MODS Implementation Guidelines are:
  • They are currently based on the MODS Schema version 3.2.
  • The resources to be described are digital (either born digital or digitized from analog originals) cultural heritage and humanities-based materials in keeping with the Aquifer collection focus on American life and culture.
  • Keeping in mind the needs of end users and aggregators, these guidelines seek to provide as simple a structure as possible for presenting metadata. They recommend that metadata about content and digital and analog carriers all appear in the main record. The guidelines try to make clear how an aggregator might use the metadata in services for end users and make recommendations for the inclusion or exclusion of information based on that use.
  • The guidelines are specifically meant for metadata that will be shared with others (whether through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) or some other means), and, as such, is focused on how to derive metadata that will make sense and be useful outside of its local context.
  • Because the first phase of the Aquifer Initiative is focused on using the OAI PMH to aggregate metadata, suggested mappings from MODS to simple Dublin Core have been provided. However, this is only to assist participants in meeting the simple Dublin Core requirement of the OAI protocol, and is not a recommendation to provide simple Dublin Core as the primary metadata format.
  • The members of the Aquifer Metadata Working Group were:
    • Sarah L. Shreeves (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): 2005-2009; Chair, 2005-2007
    • Jenn Riley (Indiana University): 2005-2009; Chair, 2007-2009
    • Laura Akerman (Emory University): 2006-2009
    • John Chapman (University of Minnesota): 2005-2008
    • Melanie Feltner-Reichert (University of Tennessee): 2006-2008
    • Kat Hagedorn (University of Michigan): 2007-2009; ASHO Core Team Liaison, 2006
    • Bill Landis (California Digital Library/Yale University): 2005-2006, 2007-2009
    • Tracy Meehleib (Library of Congress): 2006-2009
    • Elizabeth Milewicz (Emory University): 2005-2006
    • David Reynolds (Johns Hopkins University): 2005-2009
    • Gary Shawver (New York University): 2005-2008



Last Updated: October 18, 2010