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OSU Library Metadata: A Guideline to Best Practices: General Input Guidelines

This site provides guidelines for OSU's local implementation of CDP Dublin Core Metadata Best Practices Version 2.1.1

General Input Guidelines

Metadata creators should follow the general grammatical rules of the language involved when entering descriptive information about resources. In addition, it may be useful to consult the latest version of the), CDP Dublin Core Best Practices, Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM), or the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) for more information and details on general rules and guidelines for data entry. The following are a few brief comments:


Avoid ending punctuation unless it is part of the content of the resource as this may impact the effectiveness of OCR in some instances.


In general, the following abbreviations are allowed: common or accepted abbreviations (such as “St.” for “Saint”); designations of function (such as “ed.” for “Editor”); and distinguishing terms added to names of persons, if they are abbreviated on the item (such as “Mrs.”). We suggest that abbreviations not be used if they would make the record unclear. In case of doubt, spell out the abbreviation. 


Capitalize only the first word (of a title, for example) and proper names (place, personal, and organization names). Capitalize content in the description element according to normal rules of writing. All acronyms should be entered in capital letters.

Initial Articles

Avoid using initial articles at the beginning of titles unless the article is an essential part of the title or is present on the original item, it may be included (e.g., the nickname of a baseball player, The Kid). Articles include the words from this list and those in other languages with the same meaning: the, a, an, le, la, los, el, der, die, das, etc.

Character Encoding

Have a clear understanding of how the database handles nonstandard characters and diacritics (such as ü, é, ñ, etc.) and input them so that they display and retrieve effectively.


The elements described are intended to cover most of the information needed to give an adequate  description of the digital resource. However, there is often a need to further refine information  about a resource than can be expressed using the basic elements. To help remedy this, the CDP  Metadata Working Group has adopted “Qualified” Dublin Core that consists of an element and  additional qualifiers known as refinements and schemes. Recommendations for using qualifiers  appear along with each element description.