Metadata Collections & QA

Contribute a collection


The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) encourages library users, community members, collection builders and resource developers to contribute to the library. This not only grows and strengthens the library, it encourages the reuse and sharing of materials. This document is a reference guide for how to contribute collection to DLESE. To contribute individual resources not intended to be a collection, please see contribute a resource.


The benefits of contributing a collection include:

  • Exposure: DLESE marketing and outreach activities promote access to resources and collections
  • Distribution: resources and collections are made available to the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and other digital libraries
  • Discovery: search and browse mechanisms target collections and resources to appropriate audiences
  • Reputation: resources can be peer reviewed to be part of the DLESE Reviewed Collection
  • Recognition: collections are searchable by collection name and resources are attributed to individual collections
  • Support: access to technical assistance and tools for collection development and management


How to contribute

This section provides detailed information about contributing a collection. All steps must be completed before a collection is publicly accessible in DLESE. The length of time to create and contribute a collection varies widely depending on whether the collection already exists or if the collection is being newly created. The amount of time also depends on the type of collection and the support needs of the individuals or organizations building the collection. To facilitate contributing in a timely manner, please contact the DLESE Program Center (DPC) early in the collection development and contribution process.

1. Determine if the collection is within scope of the DLESE collection

Read the DLESE Collection Scope and Policy Statement to determine if the collection is within scope of the DLESE collection. If the collection is not within scope, re-evaluate whether DLESE is the correct library for the collection or determine if the collection can be adjusted to fit the library scope.

2. Determine the DLESE collection type and its corresponding DLESE metadata format

Read collection types to determine the DLESE collection type and the corresponding DLESE metadata format. All collections in DLESE use a DLESE metadata format. Collection builders need to provide their metadata to DLESE in a DLESE metadata format.

3. Understand collection accessioning (adding) and deaccessioning (removing)

All collections are subject to the requirements outlined in the DLESE Accessioning and Deaccessioning Policy. This policy describes the accessioning and deaccessioning requirements for individual resources, collections and the DLESE Reviewed Collection.


4. Is membership in the DLESE Reviewed Collection (DRC) a collection goal?

DLESE includes collections of high quality teaching and learning materials which have been rigorously reviewed and evaluated according to published selection criteria. The rationale for establishing a DLESE Reviewed Collection (DRC) is to help library users find higher quality and reviewed teaching and learning materials, and to help resource creators achieve academic career recognition. If a collection is applying for membership in the DRC, read the DLESE Reviewed Collection best practices for more information on meeting the DRC criteria.

5. Create a collection scope statement

All collections require a scope statement that, in part, articulates the goals, themes and content of the collection. Existing collections may have already prepared such a document while new collections likely have not. To create a scope statement appropriate for DLESE, read writing scope statements. If help is needed, contact DLESE requires all collections to make their scope statements publicly accessible either by hosting the statement themselves or having DLESE host the statement.

6. Determine the required metadata fields for the collection's DLESE metadata format

The table below associates DLESE collection types and corresponding DLESE metadata formats to required metadata fields. To view required metadata fields and read an overview of each metadata format, follow the links in the table.

Collection type Corresponding metadata format Required metadata fields
Resource ADN Please see the overview of ADN metadata
Annotation Annotation Please see the overview of Annotation metadata
News and opportunities News and opportunities Please see the overview of News and opportunities metadata
Generic objects Generic object Please see the overview of Generic object metadata (Contact


7. Create metadata records in the DLESE metadata format

Metadata records capture the information necessary to describe and discover items in DLESE. All metadata records, regardless of format or collection type, are required to be XML (eXtensible Markup Language) files.

Some collections may have metadata in a database or some other format. In this case, the collection builder works with DLESE staff to convert their metadata to the appropriate DLESE metadata format determined from step 2. If all required DLESE metadata is not present, some supplementary cataloging may need to be completed.

For collections with no metadata yet, records are created (cataloged) from scratch. To make these metadata records, collection builders can use the DLESE Collection System (DCS).

When creating metadata records, follow the metadata best practices that provide technical and content guidelines. If help is needed on using controlled vocabularies, developing collection and cataloging strategies (which URL to use), performing quality assurance, understanding cataloging best practices and using or installing the DLESE Collection System, please contact


8. Compile overarching collection information

All collections need to provide overarching collection information. Collection builders do this by working with DLESE staff to create a single collection-level metadata record. The required metadata fields are described in the collection metadata framework.

Additionally, DLESE needs to know if the collection should be sent on to the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and if so, whether the collection wants to be an individual NSDL collection or part of the general DLESE collection. Either way, additional information is needed to participate in NSDL.

As an individual NSDL collection, the following is needed:

  • An overall collection copyright statement
  • A brand (a logo with a maximum size of 100 pixels wide by 35 pixels high)
  • The mime type metadata field completed for each metadata record
  • Metadata records can be successfully transformed to the NSDL metadata format via a common DLESE protocol (nothing special needs to be done to them)
  • Agreement that the DLESE Program Center (DPC) serves as the contact for the collection

As part of the DLESE collection, the following is needed:

  • The mime type metadata field for each metadata record
  • Metadata records can be successfully transformed to the NSDL metadata format via a common DLESE protocol (nothing special needs to be done to them)


9. Send metadata records to the DLESE Program Center (DPC)

Once metadata records meet the metadata best practices, the records are ready to be sent to the DPC for a test ingest into the library. Transmittal of records can be done by:

  • Email
  • The Open Archives Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)
  • Other appropriate means (e.g. FTP)

If using the email method, please do not send individual attachments for each record; rather, group the records into a single attachment and send to

If using the OAI method (see the OAI installation instructions), keep in mind that record transfers must:

  • Use OAI-PMH 2.0
  • Use proper OAI add/delete methods; if the protocol is not adhered to, the collection builder needs to contact so the collection can be correctly harvested

If using other means, contact

10. Test the collection in DLESE systems and do final preparation for accessioning

After metadata records arrive, the following vitality tests are conducted:

  • Compliance with the Metadata Best Practices
  • Compliance with Resource Quality Guidelines have been met
  • Determine if the collection can be redistributed to the NSDL and others for third party usage
  • URL link checking (i.e. broken URLs comprise 5% or less of the collection); broken in this case means:
    • Not found errors
    • Connection refused errors
    • Permanent redirect errors (URLs that bounce to a new location)
    • Vitality too low errors (the site is down 50% or more over 6 days)
  • Test that metadata records can be sent to the DPC
  • Test ingestion (indexing) of records into the library and DLESE discovery systems
  • Review collection documentation
  • Assure proper XML character encoding (UTF-8)

The results of these tests are shared with the collection builder so that final issues for collections accessioning can be addressed. This testing takes time and is often iterative such that the collection builder is highly involved when the tests are being conducted. Upon successful completion of the tests, the collection is presented to the Collections Accessioning Taskforce for final approval.


11. Obtain collection approval via the Collections Accessioning Taskforce

Approval is required to become a DLESE collection as well as for acceptance into the DLESE Reviewed Collection.

Defining the Collections Accessioning Taskforce (CAT)
The Collections Accessioning Taskforce (CAT) is responsible for approving collections for accessioning. The taskforce is comprised of one to two members of DLESE Core Services, DPC metadata staff and other community experts. The taskforce meets when necessary.

Approval process for collections and for membership in the DLESE Reviewed Collection (DRC)
The taskforce is responsible for ensuring that collections meet the criteria for accessioning as prescribed by DLESE policy. The DPC metadata architect notifies collection builders of the taskforce's approval decision. If a collection is approved, the collection becomes part of DLESE and enters maintenance mode (see step 12 below). If the collection is not approved, the metadata architect advises the collection builder of the steps necessary for approval. Any collection that is not approved may apply again as long as issues of concern identified in the original application are addressed.

Additional guidelines for accessioning
In addition to using accessioning criteria, the taskforce applies the following guidelines when accessioning resources and collections:

  • Favor materials and collections which fill gaps in the DLESE collection and align with milestones and library objectives
  • Strive to achieve a balance between large, externally funded mega-collections, and small but excellent collections built by individuals or small groups
  • Favor collections which have an effective review process for finding high quality resources

12. Maintain the collection

To maintain, manage and grow a collection once it has been accessioned, the DPC staff employ a collection management process. This means that the checks in step 10 are performed on new, updated and current records and the results of such checks are reported to the collection builder. It is expected that collection builders make "repairs" based on the reports. Problem records that are not corrected are removed from the library per the Collections Accessioning and Deaccessioning Policy. The deaccessioning process is described below.

Deaccessioning process

Deaccessioning (removing records from the library) is most likely triggered by a review of automated integrity-checks (i.e. a check for broken links, etc.) on the URLs of all resources and collections. If a URL fails to respond to repeated attempts to connect over a reasonable interval of time, DPC staff notify the collection contact person. DLESE then expects the collection contact person to correct, update or remove the record. Deaccessioning can also be triggered by DLESE community member requests.

When a potential need for deaccessioning arises, deaccessioning criteria are applied by using DLESE policy and guideline documents. Deaccessioning decisions are made by the Collections Accessioning Taskforce (CAT).

How to view collections in DLESE

Collections (except news and opportunities collections ) are listed by name in the DLESE discovery system and browse pages. The collection menu (search and browse) is available from the DLESE homepage. News and opportunities collections are available in the News and Opportunities section of the library.


Last updated: 2005-01-10