Metadata Collections & QA


Note: Italicized items within a definition are defined elsewhere in the glossary.

ADN - The abbreviated ADEPT/DLESE/NASA metadata framework name that is XML schema based. DLESE began using this framework in 2003. It describes resources typically used in learning environments (e.g. classroom activities, curriculum, virtual field trips, etc.).

Attribute - Describes additional information about an XML element. An example is
<price currency="Euro">. Currency is the attribute.

Annotation - additional content or metadata that is appropriate to associate with a resource

Cataloging - The process of providing metadata information

Categories - The first order division of metadata fields for the DLESE metadata frameworks. Categories are made up of fields.

Collection - Generically, this means a group of metadata records that are organized around a theme, organization or some criteria that can be articulated. There are several different collection types within DLESE: ADN (for learning resources), annotation, news and opportunities. There are also several specific collections searchable in DLESE like the DLESE Community Collection and the DLESE Reviewed Collection.

Collection-level metadata - Metadata that describes the overall characteristics of a grouping of item-level metadata records. This information includes who maintains the collection, how many resources are in the collection, what type of resources are in the collection and what is the scope of the collection.

Collections development - A process conducted over time that builds and shapes a collection of materials into a balanced, cohesive and sought-after set of user resources. This process includes assessing the information needs of users, analyzing usage statistics and demographic projections, the formulation and articulation of selection criteria, plans for resource sharing, a well-defined cataloging plan and selection and deselection mechanism for library items.

Controlled vocabularies - Words or phrases that catalogers use to complete metadata information. Use common words and phrases ensures better searching capabilities for library users.


Complex tag - A set of XML elements that nest within other elements. Type and Name are nested elements within the complex tag set of Requirements.


Crosswalk - A semantic or technical mapping (sometimes both) of one metadata framework to another metadata framework.

CRS - an abbreviation for the Community Review System. The CRS is a collection within DLESE and a pathway that reviews resources to determine if they are appropriate to include in the DLESE Reviewed Collection. The CRS collection also collects teaching tips and other comments.

DCS - An abbreviation for the DLESE Collection System.

DLESE Collection - all materials within DLESE that

  • conform to the DLESE Collections Accessioning and Deaccessioning Policy
  • conform to the DLESE Scope Statement
  • have relevance to Earth system education
  • are basically bug-free
  • are available at little or no cost

DLESE Community Collection - a collection within the DLESE Collection that is created by the contribution of individual resources from community members.

DLESE Collection System - A web-based tool for generating, editing, managing, discovering and sharing metadata records.

DLESE-IMS - An obsolete DLESE metadata framework that uses an XML DTD and has a foundation in IMS.

DLESE Reviewed Collection - Materials that pass the filters to be in the DLESE Collection and have been reviewed to ensure the criterion stated in the scope statement (see table below) are met:

Well documented Pedagogically effective
Easy to use Scientifically accurate
Bug-free Fosters mastery of significant understandings or skill
Motivational for learners Are classroom tested

DTD - Document Type Definition file that specifies how elements inside an XML document should relate to each other. It provides "grammar" rules for an XML document and each of its elements. DLESE's metadata records are XML documents.

Element - The smallest division within an XML document that is defined within a DTD or schema. An example is <body>formatted text</body>. Body is the element.


Fields - The smallest division within a metadata framework. Fields become elements in a DTD or schema. Fields become tag sets within XML documents when the field is surrounded by a "<" and a ">" sign.

Framework - The XML structures that supports metadata concepts, content and controlled vocabularies.

IMS - One of many different existing metadata schemes. The abbreviation no longer stands for anything. The IMS Project is part of the non-profit EDUCAUSE consortium of U.S. institutions of higher education and their vendor partners that work to develop open market-based standards for online learning, including specifications for learning content metadata.

Interoperability - The ability to share (provide and harvest) metadata records via standard protocols.


Metadata - Descriptive information (e.g. title, description, audience, geospatial coverage, keywords) that can be used to describe, index and discover learning resources for particular user needs.

OAI - An abbreviation for the organization Open Archive Initiative.

OAI-PMH - An abbreviation for Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.

Object-level metadata - Metadata that describes generally a single item or object.

News and opportunities - events or time-sensitive resources that have specific start and end dates and are of an interest to the DLESE community as a whole (e.g. grants, workshops, scholarships, conferences, etc.).

Required metadata - The minimum level of metadata information that enables searching and indexing of resources within DLESE. Some examples of required metadata include: title, description, audience, technical information, copyright etc.


Robust metadata - Includes all metadata above and beyond required metadata. Allows for DLESE community-specific searching. Examples include the National Science Education Standards, related resources and geospatial coverage.

Schema - an XML document that describes the DLESE metadata framework in terms of structure, datatypes, number of field occurrences and controlled vocabularies.

SDLIP - Simple Digital Library Interoperability Protocol. A protocol to facilitate query and response between clients and servers. Clients use SDLIP to request searches to be performed over information sources. The resulting documents are returned synchronously, or they are streamed from service to client as they become available.


Tag set - An element defined in a DTD or a field enclosed in a greater-than and a less-than sign. An example is <body>. The element body is defined in the DTD. Body may also be the field name within the metadata scheme (but not necessarily). The tag set is then "<body></body>".

Valid or validity - An XML document that adheres to the specifications outlined in the DTD. This generally refers to how an element can occur, the name of the element and the number of times the element can occur.

Well-formed - An XML document that adheres to the following XML syntax rules:

  • Uses a DTD file or contains an XML declaration with the "standalone" attribute set to "no"
  • Element attributes are in quotes
  • Elements have an opening and closing tag unless it is an empty tag set
  • Tag sets nest correctly

XML - The abbreviation for the eXtensible Markup Language. The XML language is a document processing standard that allows you to create and format document markups.

Last updated: 12-16-04