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OSU Library Metadata: A Guideline to Best Practices: Title

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


Label: Title
Maps to Dublin Core Element Name: title
Maps to MARC field (in World Cat): 245, 246
Mandatory: Yes, required
Repeatable: Yes
                  titleAlternative: Any form of the title used as a substitute or alternative to the formal title of the resource
           Schemes: None

Dublin Core Definition: Title

The name given to the resource.

Comment/Context: Title

Typically, a Title will be a name by which the resource is formally known. The name given to the resource by the creator or publisher; may also be an identifying phrase or name of the object supplied by the contributing institution.

Input Guidelines: Title

  1.  Enter multiple titles in the order in which they appear on the resource or in order of their importance. Clearly separate each entry by a semicolon followed by a space (; ) within an element. Use separate elements to enter more than one title if necessary for access i.e., “caption title, former title, spine title, collection title, series title, artist’s title, object name, etc.” or if in doubt about what constitutes the title.
  2. Transcribe the title, if there is one, from the resource itself, such as a caption from a photograph, a title on a map, or a description on an oral history recording.
  3.  When no title is found on the resource itself, use a title assigned by the contributing institution or found in reference sources. For more guidance in constructing titles, consult established cataloging rules such as Resource, Description and Access (RDA), Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DAC), or Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO).
  4.  Create a descriptive and concise title indicating the nature of the resource (e.g., letter, diary) and/or its subject (e.g., names of persons, corporate bodies, objects, activities, events, geographical area). Generally, construct the title using the following order: Who, What, Where, When. Avoid generic titles such as “Papers” or “Annual report.”
  5. When a title contains a misspelled word or inaccuracies add an alternative title using the titleAlternative element with the corrected form of the title.
  6. For assigned titles, exclude initial articles (a, an, the). If 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).
  7.  Capitalize only the first letter of the first word of the title or of any proper names contained within the title.
  8.  Transcribe titles and subtitles from the source using the same punctuation that appears on the source. If the holding institution has created the title, use punctuation appropriate to the English language (e.g., Students jousting at Game Day, April 13, 1971).
  9. File names, accession numbers, call numbers, or other identification schemes should be entered in the Identifier element.
  10. Collections:

    (a) If multiple items are being described as a collection by one record and no collection title already exists, create a collective title that is as descriptive as possible of the contents.

    (b) If each item in such a collection is itself worthy of being described by its own record (i.e., itemlevel record), refer back to   the collection-level title in the Relation element. Likewise, list any titles for subordinate item-level records in the Relation element of the collection-level record.

  11. There may be two Title elements. The first would be designated for the formal title and the second, “Title [Alternative]” would be used for additional tiles by which the object is known.


Notes: None.

Examples: Title

Titles created by creator/publisher


Based Real Estate Atlas of the District of Columbia

Could also be known at the institution or locally as: “Base Map” and that title would appear in the Title [Alternative] field

Hail to the Redskins

Title from the music score “Hail to the Redskins.”

10 & 1000

Title [Alternative]: Ten and one thousand

Hier Ist Die Future

Title from poster

Untitled # 456

Title assigned by artist

Aunt Jane

Handwritten caption from photograph

Oral history interview with John Doe

Title from oral history interview-audio


Titles supplied by contributing institution


Church at Lucy-le-Bocage

Tulsa Race Riots

Angie Debo Papers

Building Coyle Bridge

photograph of construction on Coyle Bridge

Bear statue in old setting

sculpture of a bear


Titles supplied for a specific materials

Scrapbook of______  
Diary of_______  
Letter/Memo/Email from___to___  
Image of___ for all photographic formats including photographs, slides, negatives, glass lantern slides, glass plate negatives,etc
Audio Recording of ____  
Video Recording of_____/Film of_____  
News Clippings Titled_____  
Speech (titled)_____by________  
Oral history Interview with______