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  Preservation Procedure Policy: Metadata: Structural metadata
Related Guidance Policy
Definition/ Description Structural metadata can be defined as metadata required to describe the internal structure and the component relationships of a digital object.
Structural metadata contains information on how the digital object has been created, e.g. metadata collected when digitizing a book. The organisation should document relevant information about the ‘containers’ of the files in the structural metadata and decide what information is to be preserved and if a formal standard is to be used in preserving this type of metadata, for example: use of the METS standard.

Why Structural metadata is important to be able to render the digital object authentically in the future.
Risks Correctly rendering of the digital object may be lost if structural metadata is missing.
Life cycle stage Description & Representation Information, Preservation Planning, Create or Receive, Ingest, Preservation Action, Transform
Stakeholder Management: defines metadata policies and the use of standards
Technology Manager: responsible for ensuring the proper systems for rendering the metadata and the digital material
Cross Reference Bit Preservation
Functional Preservation
Examples State and University Library, Denmark: “... and monitors the international development in metadata standards including descriptive, administrative (including technical) and structural metadata.” Source:,
Control Policy
  • Information on structure should be included
  • The METS files SHOULD be able to be validated
Questions to foster discussions
  • Has the organisation decided on a metadata schema for structural metadata?

[[1]|#_ftnref1] DPC Tech Watch 13-03 p. 33

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