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  Preservation Procedure Policy: Metadata: Management of metadata
Related Guidance Policy
Definition/ Description An organisation undertaking digital preservation should develop a metadata policy describing what kind of metadata and which standards are to be used. This policy would support decision making for preservation of specific collections.

As the required set of metadata can differ per collection or type of digital object, the organisation should decide for each kind of digital collection what type of metadata the organisation will need for long term digital preservation taking into consideration the users of that collection and the preservation goals.

It would be beneficial to consider using agreed standards for the different types of metadata. Whether standards are followed or not, it will be important to document all decisions and review on a regular frequency to update for   developments in standards and demands for preservation.
Why A policy for metadata, use of metadata standards and consideration of management of metadata are necessary to support a successful long term digital preservation.
Risks Lack of policies for collection and management of metadata may cause that metadata that is often recorded at a certain point in time (e.g. at the point of creation of the file or at time of ingest) is not collected or managed appropriately.
Life cycle stage Preservation Planning, Create or Receive, Ingest, Preservation Action, Store, Dispose, Transform
Stakeholder Depositor: delivers metadata for long term preservation
Management: decides overall metadata policies and standards
Regulator: concerned with the legalities in metadata

Cross Reference Functional Preservation
Authenticity -> Provenance
Trustworthy Digital Repository
Object (original metadata and Dispose)
Examples University of Manchester Library  “ (…)ensure that access is provided for digitally archived objects using appropriate metadata standards (within recognised IP and data protection restrictions)” Source:,
State and University Library, Denmark: “The owner of the collections ensures that all digital collections and associated metadata are registered (…).” Source:,
Control Policy
  • Metadata MUST comply with a standard schema <value>
  • Minimum metadata fields MUST be completed
Questions to foster discussions
  • Has your organisation defined a metadata policy for long term preservation of digital material?
  • Has your organisation decided what kind of metadata the organisation will need for long term digital preservation for each collection?
  • Does the metadata collected and used conform to agreed standards and are the standards used up to date?
  • Is the metadata about the digital material kept separate from the digital object or is it embedded in the digital object itself?
  • Has your organisation defined a minimum set of required metadata?
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