Metadata is descriptive data that helps you quickly retrieve a resource when you need it.

Libraries were among the first to standardize electronic documents and have helped pave the way for Document Management Software (DMS). Many DMS solutions mirror how libraries store documents, such as within a genre and on a subject. Parts of the document are pulled and turned into metadata for categorizing the document in ways that are easier to understand.

There are 3 popular methods of storing documents with metadata:

  1. Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC): Originating in the 1960s, MARC was the first method the Library of Congress used to standardize digital books. Several versions of MARC have since been developed across the globe, including MARCXML. The MARC schema for categorizing metadata was designed to use very little computing power, but it has certain limitations due to its complexity. The system uses a series of 3-digit numbers for each method of classification, which becomes very tedious for coders.
  1. Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS): MODS was designed based on the XML schema. This method requires greater computing power and decreases the code’s complexity. MODS also has a better focus on metadata that describes the content of a document, as opposed to just the bibliography of a document. It’s compatible with most metadata schemas.
  1. Dublin Core: Created in Dublin, Ohio, the Dublin Core schema is the most simplistic. With a much broader system vocabulary, Dublin Core was designed for custom implementations where a system must store documents very unlike those in libraries. eFileCabinet has discussed how Dublin Core could play a big role in the future of Enterprise Content Management (ECM).

MODS is the most popular schema as the middle ground between the familiar library-style MARC schema and the simplistic Dublin Core vocabulary.

There are a total of 20 MODS elements that define a digital resource, and many of them break into smaller subcategories. For example, the “origin” element of a document can be broken down into the document’s date of creation, the publication that created it, the parent company of the publication, and even the location of the parent company.

Here, we’ve illustrated and defined 10 of the primary elements:

Better Buys infographic

Author Bio: Julia Scavicchio is an editor with Better Buys, a trusted source on enterprise software news and research. Follow her @JuliaScavicchio for more insight on how technology is changing our workforce.