"The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) is an organization dedicated to promoting the widespread adoption of interoperable metadata standards and developing specialized metadata vocabularies for describing resources that enable more intelligent information discovery systems."
DublinCore develops recommendations for semantic definitions of metadata terms, as well as recommendations for implementation and usage of those terms.
The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, version 1.1 (core elements) is ISO Standard 15836-2003 (February 2003, PDF).
Quick reference to the original fifteen Dublin Core Elements (<-- this is the one to read to get a feel for DublinCore).
title -- A name given to the resource.
creator -- An entity primarily responsible for making the content of the resource.
subject -- The topic of the content of the resource.
description -- An account of the content of the resource.
publisher -- An entity responsible for making the resource available.
contributor -- An entity responsible for making contributions to the content of the resource.
date -- A date associated with an event in the life cycle of the resource.
type -- The nature or genre of the content of the resource.
format -- The physical or digital manifestation of the resource.
identifier -- An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.
source -- A reference to a resource from which the present resource is derived.
language -- A language of the intellectual content of the resource.
relation -- A reference to a related resource.
coverage -- The extent or scope of the content of the resource.
rights -- Information about rights held in and over the resource.
Each definition includes clarifying comments, please read the clarifying comments that accompany the definitions in the quick reference above.
In addition to the above original terms, DublinCore also defines some additional terms and several refinements. In several cases, refinements offer specific terms for the "typical" uses noted in the comments of definitions. See also RefinementPattern.
Pages discussing specific DublinCore elements:
Dublin Core and Atom
How can DublinCore help in the development of Atom?
First, it has to be recognized that DublinCore is a set of "layered" specification and we get to choose which layers we use.
At the most conceptual layer, DublinCore provides definitions for fifteen concepts used to describe things (date, format, title, etc.). It is these fifteen definitions that have been standardized by ISO. Although the definitions have labels or names to refer to them, those names are not proscriptive -- no one says you have to use those labels in your own formats or recommendations. In addition to the fifteen core definitions, several additions and refinements are also defined, but not (yet?) standardized by the ISO. The intent is for interoperability and data exchange. They are intended to be used by reference and in documentation, "our ferzbaz date is a Dublin Core creation date".
The next layer is using the terms and qualifiers within one's own model and specifications. The recommendation here is to use the DublinCore terms literally, where they are applicable, and deriving from DublinCore terms when creating new terms, again, where they are applicable.
At the bottom layer of the DublinCore effort are guidelines for the use, or encoding, of DublinCore within existing formats, such as HTML, XML, and RDF.
Specification of Atom, therefore, can use the definitions provided by DublinCore in describing Atom attributes, possibly use the literal terms used by DublinCore in the model (DublinCoreEntryStrawman), or adopt the guidelines for using DublinCore in the syntax of the proposed format.
Conceptual: Dublin Core Metadata Element Set
Terms: DCMI Metadata Terms
Guidelines for implementing Dublin Core in HTML RFC2731, XML, and RDF.
Dublin Core Myths
- Dublin Core is RDF
DublinCore is 1) a set of ISO standard definitions, 2) a set of terms defined thereby, and 3) guidelines for the use of those terms in HTML, XML, and RDF. RDF is not a driving factor of DublinCore.
- If we use DublinCore, people can put anything into the values
No, the content model of a serialization of Atom is defined and validated by our schemas.
- Using DublinCore takes away our control
No, it's the other way around. We are in complete control of the Atom model and its serialization. We use DublinCore to the degree and level where it benefits us.
- The RDF and metadata people like Dublin Core
Why ''not'' use Dublin Core?
[KenMacLeod] What reasons do people have for not wanting to use DublinCore definitions and/or terms?
[HenriSivonen RefactorOK] DC date is rather ambiguous and useless as without information about the related event. It looks more like a data type than a meta data field.
[KenMacLeod] Check out the comment that accompanies date, "Typically, Date will be associated with the creation or availability of the resource." As the only required element, that would be the meaning people would expect, in the absence of any other more specialized dates (qualifiers in DC-speak, extensions in WFE-speak).
[AsbjornUlsberg] That's what the "rel" attribute in our case can be used for. The scope of Echo is not to find out what's missing in DC or what could have been better, it's rather to use what's already been done (like in DC), and use it over in our own, brand new and stunning format.