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From the Wikipedia: Metadata (Greek: meta- + Latin: data "information"), literally "data about data", are information about another set of data.

Metadata schemes are a kind of controlled vocabulary.

See also: annotation systems.

Standards of interest to education

Languages to create taxonomies for objects like web pages or learning objects
Organizing, describing information
  • Information Space standards such as Topic maps or more sophisticated RDF/OWL based semantic networks
  • RSS
Folksomic (natural) tagging

Technical representation formats


  • Most standards are today published as XML and most of these are built on top of RDF. But there can be multiple representation formats for a given standard. E.g. for Dublin core, one could use XHTML Meta tags or an XML file or fill in a form that then goes to a database.

XHTML Meta Data Profiles

XMDP is a simple XHTML-based format for defining HTML meta data profiles easy to read and write by both humans and machine. An example would be XFN (XHTML Friends Network, a simple way to represent human relationships using hyperlinks).

The HTML "Meta" Tag

HTML allows to insert meta tags (as many as you like) into the head of an HTML document.

Basically it seems that people mostly use the following name attribute values:

  • "robots": (to inhibit robot indexing)
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
  • "description": used by search engines
<meta name="description" content="this is a page about metadata">
  • "keywords" also used by search engines
<meta name="keywords" content="metadata, dublin core, LOM">

Meta name="anything". You may use the Dublin Core taxonomy for instance, but this is only useful if you know that a specialized search engine will use it.

Note: The Meta Http-Equiv="..." attribute is used to insert HTTP directives.


  • DC-dot- free online tool. "Extracts and validates metadata from HTML resources and MS Office files. The generated metadata can be edited using the form provided and converted to various other formats (USMARC, SOIF, IAFA/ROADS, TEI headers, GILS, IMS or RDF) if required."


Educational Metadata


  • Barton, J., Currier, S. & Hey, J. (2003) Building quality assurance into metadata creation: an analysis based on the learning objects and e-prints communities of practice, DC-2003 Proceedings of the International DCMI Metadata Conference and Workshop, September 28-October 2, 2003, Seattle, Washington USA, pp. 39-48.
  • Clay Shirky (2003). The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview, HTML
  • Foroughi, R. (2004). Proposing New Elements for Pedagogical Descriptions in LOM. In: Uskov, V. (Ed.). Proceedings of the 7th IASTED International Conference on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education, August 16-18, 2004, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. Acta Press. 328-332
  • Kalz, M.; H. Drachsler, J. van Bruggen, H. Hummel and R. Koper (2008). Wayfinding Services for Open Educational Practices. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), Vol 3, No 2 (2008). Abstract/PDF
  • Mason, J. & Sutton, S. (2005). Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Education Working Group. Draft Proposal.
  • Powell, Andy (2003). Expressing Dublin Core in HTML/XHTML meta and link elements, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, [1] , retrieved 13:18, 12 April 2007 (MEST).
  • Larry Kollar (2007). Heresy the Third: Metadata is for Computers. Blog Entry. HTML, retrieved 18:57, 7 May 2007 (MEST) (good classification of metadata types)