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Digitizing Collections: Create Shareable Metadata

A guide for digitizing collections for access and preservation.


  1. Planning 
  2. Selection
  3. Digitizing materials
  4. Processing files, creating master and access files
  5. Metadata creation or re-purposing
  6. Digital preservation of master files
  7. Presentation of access files in an online content management platform


Create shareable metadata 

Shareable metadata is metadata that is optimized to work well outside of its original context. This means it is understandable and useful regardless of where it is being accessed and it promotes interoperability. Shareable metadata helps create a better experience for users, they will find more relevant resources and have more confidence in the information and resources they find.

  • Provide proper context - it can stand on its own and gives the user context for the item and it doesn’t rely on outside resources or outside context for understanding the item
  • Content coherence - it should be self explanatory, it should make sense to users.
  • Conform to standards - use standards like controlled vocabularies helps with cross-collection searching and interoperability with other institutions collections in a shared context.
  • Be consistent - use the same format for a single name each time you use it as a value 

    Shreeves, Riley, and Milewicz (2006)

Resources for Shareable Metadata

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.