The Nordic Metadata Project


  1. Introduction
  2. Project tasks
  3. Documentation
  4. Other information


View Dublin Core Metadata for this page


The Nordic metadata II -project has started in January 1999. The project partners are almost the same than in the Nordic metadata I.

The national library of Norway has started delivery of URNs to the Web documents. It is the third national library to do this after national libraries of Sweden and Finland, who begun in May 1998.

Donor project ( has evaluated metadata generators and decided to use Nordic metadata generator as the basis of its metadata tool.


The Nordic Metadata I project created basic elements of a metadata production and utilization system based on the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. The project was funded by NORDINFO ( It begun in October 1996 and was completed in June 1998.

The final report of the Nordic metadata project is available at (Word 97) or (HTML).

The software and documentation created in this project will be available in public domain for any organisation which has interest in fostering creation and use of metadata.

NORDINFO funds also a follow-up project, Nordic metadata II. The project plan is available at The follow-up project will enhance the tools developed in Nordic metadata I.


Ole HusbyBibsys, Norway
Juha HakalaHelsinki University Library, Finland
Traugott KochLund University Library, NetLab, Sweden
Susanne ThorborgDanish Library Center, Denmark
Andrea JohannsdottirThe National and University Library of Iceland
Preben HansenSwedish Institute of Computer Science

Project tasks

The project is divided into the following work packages:

  1. Enhancement of the existing Dublin Core specification

    The project activities in this area will be related to development of XML/RDF syntax and creation of a new version of Dublin Core, tentatively called Dublin Core 2.0. Since several project team members are participants in Dublin Core Technical Advisory Committee and DC Policy Advisory Committee, we can influence the decisions being done in the DC community.

  2. Creation of Dublin Core to MARC converter.

    The Nordic metadata I DC -> MARC converter is available at The converter is capable of producing records in USMARC and all Nordic MARC formats from Dublin Core source data. The software was written by Ole Husby from Bibsys.

    In Nordic metadata II we intend to build a table driven converter, so as to enable easy modification of the conversion by the application users. The conversion tables will be modifiable with Excel or a similar tool.

  3. Dublin Core User support and tools evaluation.

    DC User guide

    The Nordic metadata produced a full and short version of the Dublin Core user guide (see chapter 2.5 of the final report). These documents are very actively used since they are linked to the metadata templates, and thus form an integrated part of the service. There is an urgent need to keep these documents up to date when the template is modified.

    In addition to the template guide, there are also user guides linked to the URN generator and DC to MARC converter.

    There are at least three reasons for continuing work in this area:

    1. Dublin Core is still evolving. Once the list of core qualifiers has been approved, our metadata template and converter will change to some extent. The changes done to the application will cause some changes to the user guides as well. Inclusion of new DC syntaxes into the template for e.g. XML and Alta Vista must also be reflected in the user guides.
    2. The 1st general Dublin Core user guide will be published in summer '98. We need to evaluate this document thoroughly and modify our own metadata template user guides if necessary.
    3. A Nordic user guide does not give full support to users in e.g. Finland. The user guide, once stable, needs to be translated to all Nordic languages and modified according to the local needs. For instance, since SAB classification is not used in Finland we can remove the SAB section from the local user guide (and template).

    Evaluation of tools

    In Nordic metadata I the users were asked to evaluate the metadata template. Although the number of respondents was small when compared with the number of people who provided metadata with the tool, the feedback received gave us valuable insight on how to improve the service.

    The evaluation must be continued in the Nordic metadata II, but in this project we should evaluate not only the template, but also other services like the national metadata databases, DC to MARC converter and URN generator, in this priority order. Since one of the main motivations of the project is to make network documents more easily accessible, it is important for us to know if the users are satisfied with the metadata databases.

  4. Maintenance and development of metadata tools

    As of this writing the software written for the template in Netlab is being used in many projects in Nordic countries and elsewhere. It is important to continue maintenance and support of the application for this reason only. But there are other, more challenging reasons for improving this tool (see chapter 2.1 of the final report for more details). The functionality that must be added to the template includes:

    1. Support for core qualifiers for Dublin Core elements. The list of core elements will be finished in autumn 1998.
    2. Support for new Dublin Core syntaxes for XML and RDF, and for modified HTML 4.0 syntax. As of this writing it seems that the DC syntax for HTML will be aligned with XML syntax, which means a few non-trivial changes for the existing HTML syntax recommendation.
    3. Support for metadata syntax supported by Alta Vista. This has nothing to do with Dublin Core as such, but is useful and very easy to implement.
    4. Development of new functionality such as extraction of existing metadata from the document to be described. This has been already incorporated into the Nordic metadata software by the Donor project.

    The Nordic Metadata I metadata generator is available at Its primary authors are Traugott Koch and Mattias Borell from Lund University NetLab unit. User guides were written by Preben Hansen from SICS. The same team will continue template development in Nordic metadata II.

    As a part of the Nordic metadata project the Nordic Web Index was enhanced so that it is capable of harvesting meaningful metadata from Web documents. As of this writing there are two national metadata databases available, Swemeta and Danmeta. These databases contain about 250.000 records, which is about 6-7 % of the total web space in Sweden and Denmark.

    The Nordic metadata II will enhance Nordic Web Index in co-operation with other Nordic initiatives in the following areas:

    1. Improve NWI's harvesting and indexing software
    2. Adaptation and improvements of the retrieval system
    3. Adaptation of the user interface and search support
    4. Establishment and maintenance of national metadata databases

    See the project report for more details on work to be carried out in these areas.

    Nordic metadata I produced also other metadata tools, such as a URN generator and a user guide for it ( Development and maintenance of these tools will continue in the Nordic metadata II.


All public project information (bibliographies, reports, user guides etc.) has been made available via this page. The documents were written in English and published in HTML format.

The list presented here is very selective. See the final report for the full list of publications.

Other information

There is a lot of information available about the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set and metadata in general in the Web. Below is a short list of some relevant sources.

Last updated: 21 February 2000