The purpose of descriptive metadata is to provide information about a digital object in a collection. There are several main components to use when describing digital objects such as: title, author, date of publication, subject, publisher, description, etc. Thus, the digital objects become findable and understandable in a Collection Management Systeme (CMS) or the World Wide Web.
Descriptive metadata originated in the library sector, that came up with a set of rules and standards for the creation of meatata records, and is now enriching every area of scientific research.

As diverse as the scientific fields are the resulting metadata standards. There are various standards for libraries and archives (e.g. MARC or EAD) but also for museums and other research facilities in the cultural sector (Lido, METS/MODS). In the area of natural history emerged specially built standards for the description of scientific specimen findings such as Darwin Core, which builds on the fundamental standard Dublin Core, and ABCD(EF).

Europeana and metadata standards

The concept of Europeana benefits from the principle: “The more, the better.” The more metadata is provided to Europeana by the data providers, the better is the quality of the records on the platform, which leads to a higher ranking in the Europeana hierarchy. Thus, it ensures reusability and the finability of the objects through a searchable index.

By developing the Europeana Data Model (EDM) the aim was to build a fundament for describing and displaying digital objects of various different research institutions with one standard in order to combine their resources on one platform.

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