Digital Content Creation



Digital Content Creation

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12.0 Best Practices for Administrative Metadata

PDF for Chapter_12


Administrative metadata provides information necessary to allow a repository to manage objects, such as when, how and by whom a resource was created and how it can be accessed. Elements in administrative metadata can overlap with technical and perseveration metadata because it share same purposes, i.e., to make the resources accessible in the future. Sometimes technical and preservation metadata are also added  as administrative metadata. For example, METS includes technical and preservation metadata in its administrative metadata section, as shown below:



Depending on the systems and structural metadata, administrative metadata can be added directly into the structural metadata or linked as an outside source. Since the Library will have separate sections of metadata for technical and preservation metadata, this document will focus on providing guidelines on what should be captured in administrative metadata based on METS and Dublin Core. 


Table of Contents


12.1 Managing Metadata

12.2 Managing Digital Objects

12.3 Managing Rights

12.4 Managing Provenance





12.1 Managing Metadata


Metadata can be updated and changed over time, and administrative metadata records the changes that have been made to the metadata. There are three different components of information that should be captured for this purpose as identified in Dublin Core Metadata Initiative's Administrative metadata <>:



12.2 Managing Digital Objects


A main purpose of managing digital objects is to keep track of archival and access files. Administrative metadata will capture the location of access copies, archival masters and their formats, usually in the form of identifiers (see also best practices for identifiers). Access, metadata, and archival files associated with a give digital resource typically will share the same root file name (considered a best practice?); however, Handles and actionable URIs are preferred as a more sustainable way to maintain linkages between online access copies and archival masters. If DVDs for archival masters are made and stored (or other off-line archiving done), information about the DVD, location and content, should be included in administrative metadata as well as within the preservation application or archival tracking system (e.g., Archon?) itself.

As access systems proliferate and evolve, the Library also should keep track in administrative metadata of the ways that a given digital object is being disseminated, used, and/or associated with other digital content. Thus, an emblem may be disseminated on its own through a specialized emblem portal and may as well be made available through CONTENTdm as a component of the emblem book of which it is a part. Descriptive metadata for the emblem (considered as a component of the digital object) may separately be disseminated from a third system via OAI-PMH. Data may be available detailing frequency with which emblem is being accessed and from where. While there are not right now consensus metadata schemes for encoding these kinds of dissemination and use metadata, we should anticipate that these data will need to be recorded and associated with digital objects as a form of administrative metadata in the future.

Other detailed technical information will be captured in technical metadata.



12.3 Managing Rights


Another important component of administrative metadata is rights managements. This could include information about copyright, access, use, licensing, and in-house reproduction. Right statements can be applied at the collection level or item level, depending on the resources. Though not entirely clear yet, approaches and schemes such as Creative Commons and MPEG rights metadata should be considered and exploited as appropriate pending eventual consensus around a dominant rights metadata approach for the Library's digital resources.



12.4 Managing Provenance


Administrative metadata includes provenance of physical and digital resources, i.e., 'any changes in ownership or custody of the resource since its creation that are significant for its authenticity, integrity, and interpretation <>.'  Information that is relevant to the provenance includes name, date and a short description of changes that have been made to the resources.

13.0 Best Practices for Preservation Metadata

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