Music Discovery Requirements

V.C Metadata Schemas: Dublin Core

The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set is a "vocabulary of fifteen properties for use in resource description."[1] The name comes from the schema's origins in 1995 at a workshop in Dublin, Ohio. Dublin Core was designed to be intentionally simple to use and flexible, in order to promote international usage for content creators beyond trained information professionals. All elements are optional, all elements are repeatable, and there is neither a mandatory syntax for the terms used nor a prescribed order of elements.

Simple Dublin Core refers to the original fifteen elements, and is the most widely used iteration of the schema. Qualified Dublin Core refines some elements and adds additional elements, and also allows for the usage of controlled vocabularies. Application profiles can be defined for specific communities of users.

Dublin Core's simplicity can be a boon for those inputting metadata, but it also means that many of the nuances in describing musical materials may be lost. Crosswalking MARC data to Dublin Core will inevitably mean a loss of granularity, and Dublin Core's small set of metadata elements mean that it can be difficult to find an exact match for music-specific metadata. Dublin Core also poses a problem for aggregate works, which are common in music, and is not well-equipped to separate the attributes of the various FRBR entities. Because it was developed primarily as a tool for description, Dublin Core is also not well-equipped to take advantage of recent developments aimed at aiding discovery of musical materials. Those looking to use Dublin Core for musical materials should investigate specific application profiles, and be willing to accept a certain lack of granularity and specificity.