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Metadata Workshop,
Luxembourg - 1-2 December 1997

Updated: 02 SEP 98

The Second Metadata Workshop was held in Luxembourg on 26 June 1998. The report of this workshop is available on our pages.

DGXIII/E4, the Electronic publishing and libraries unit, is organising a series of workshops on the issue of metadata. Intended participation is from libraries sector projects within the Telematics Applications Programme and from projects in other TAP sectors and other programmes, both EU and national.

The first Workshop of 1/2 day took place in Luxembourg on 1 and 2 December 1997.

The workshop consisted of a Tutorial led by the UK Office for Library and Information Networking (UKOLN), presentations of current projects in Scandinavia and the UK, and three breakout sessions on Metadata creation, Harvesting, and Retrieval.

Around 60 participants from organisations all around Europe attended the workshop, indicating a wide interest in the subject. 
The workshop participants recognised that metadata standards are necessary, in addition to sector- or subject-specific description mechanisms, to ensure interoperability in resource discovery on the Internet.

The workshop concentrated on the emerging and currently the best-developed metadata format known as Dublin Core. It is however recognised that it concentrates fully on resource discovery and does not cover other requirements, e.g. for resource management or access restrictions.

The workshop, although recognising the usefulness of Dublin Core as a starting point in metadata descriptive standards, brought forward a number of concerns regarding the current state and the further development of Dublin Core:

  • There is currently no formal responsibility for the maintenance of Dublin Core: development takes place in an informal group of invited experts which meets once or twice per year in what is known as the Dublin Core Workshop Series.
  • The current technical state of Dublin Core is unstable: during the meetings of the Dublin Core group, changes are being made to the format and there is no convergence to a stable version;
  • The use of the current Dublin Core metadata format is not supported by the existence of guidelines: some of the philosophy and terminology of Dublin Core is not obvious to the uninitiated user which could lead to different interpretations adversely affecting interoperability.

It was also identified that the current take-up of Dublin Core is slow and that there is a lack of critical mass. This seems to be a classical chicken-and-egg situation: authors and publishers do not invest in providing Dublin Core metadata if the Internet indexing services (the 'harvesters') do not utilise it, and harvesters do not collect Dublin Core and use it for selective indexing if there is not enough data available. If this situation cannot be changed, Dublin Core might not turn into reality.

The workshop identified a number of actions that could be taken to promote and encourage the use of Dublin Core, including the following:

  1. There needs to be clarity about version control and maintenance of Dublin Core. The Dublin Core group, addressed through the mailing list META2, will be asked to give a clear statement about this.
  2. Further pilot projects should be started to further develop experience, test out the issues and help realise a critical mass of Dublin Core metadata. The European Commission and national bodies like National Libraries might have a role to play by encouraging the provision of Dublin Core metadata in documents, e.g. in project deliverables and electronic documents in the national deposit.
  3. The interest and requirements existing in Europe warrant the establishment of a European group of implementers discussing the practical issues of implementing metadata in general and Dublin Core in particular. The Luxembourg workshops, such as this December 1997 one and a second one scheduled for mid-1998, could develop into a regular series.
  4. The liaison with other groups concerned with metadata, such as the CEN/ISSS working group on Metadata for Multimedia Information (MMI), should be established to ensure applicability and interoperability of metadata as widely as possible and cover the needs of a wide range of communities.

A second workshop of one day, scheduled for mid-1998, will contain an update from the standards and reports from projects leading into discussion on solution scenarios.

Full report of the Workshop is available for downloading

For further information about Metadata and for the text of the presentations see the Workshop's Web site at:


MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER (14:00-18:00)
14:00-14:15 Welcome - Ariane Iljon, Head of Unit DGXIII/E-4
14:15-14:30 Introduction on scope and objectives - Makx Dekkers
14:30-18:00 Metadata tutorial, organised by the UK Office for Library and Information Networking
  • Introduction
  • The metadata landscape
  • Review of Dublin Core
  • Data creation and harvesting
  • Interoperability
  • Future
TUESDAY, 2 DECEMBER (09:00-16:00)
9:00-10:00 Project presentations
  • Hyperborea: Nordic Metadata and other Nordic Dublin Core initiatives 
    Juha Hakala, Helsinki University Library, Finland
  • Metadata in CIMI and Aquarelle 
    Mike Stapleton, SSL, UK
  • Towards interoperability: enabling resource discovery across the arts and humanities 
    Paul Miller, Archaeology Data Service, UK
10:00-13:00 Breakout sessions with assigned rapporteurs on the following subjects:
  • Metadata creation and maintenance
  • Harvesting
  • Retrieval
13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-15:00 Breakout session reports by rapporteurs
15:00-16:00 Discussion, resolutions  - chaired by Ariane Iljon

Second Metadata Workshop (Luxembourg, 26 June 1998).
European Commission 
DGXIII Telematics for Libraries
Contact: Concha Fernandez de la Puente

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