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OSU Library Metadata: A Guideline to Best Practices: Language

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


Label: Language
Maps to Dublin Core Element Name: Language
Maps to MARC field (in World Cat): 546
Mandatory: Optional, but recommended
Repeatable: Yes
Refinements: None

Scheme Name Scheme Label Definition
ISO639-2 ISO 639-2 Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages part 2
RFC3066 RFC3066


Dublin Core Definition: Language

A language of the intellectual content of the resource.

Comment/Context: Language

Indicates the language(s) of the intellectual content of the resource. This implies the language(s) in which a text is written or the spoken language(s) of an audio or video resource. Visual images do not usually have a language unless there is significant text in a caption or in the image itself.

Input Guidelines: Language

  1. A resource may include multiple languages. Use separate Language elements to enter multiple languages or clearly separate each entry by a semicolon followed by a space (; ) within an element.
  2. Indicate the language using a standard scheme such as ISO 639-2 or RFC3066. The same scheme should be followed throughout a collection.
  3. In addition to using language codes, if needed, a textual description of the nature of the language may be included in the Description element. Example: “In German and English, in parallel columns.”


Examples: Language

ISO 639-2 Definition
spa Spanish
eng English
ger German
RFC3066 Definition
en-US English, United States
en-UK English, United Kingdom