Monday, December 8, 2008

Dublin Core One-to-One Principle

In Dublin Core metadata schema, the one-to-one principle refers to one metadata description is only for one resource. For instance, description for a digital image of Mona Lisa can not be regarded as same as the original painting. However, in most practices, it's difficult to just make a straight line of it.

When we create metadata to describe a resource, such as a digital image, or an analog object, we need to consider users' requirements. From users perspective, we want to give the information they are looking for; metadata creators should have the capability to identify the key information need. For example, when a metadata creator describes the date of an image of Mona Lisa digitized from an original painting, s/he should think about what users really want to know here. In most case, users are interested in the original date of the painting instead of the image. If metadata creators give the digitization date of the image, it would be less satisfied users' interest.

However, in the above example, if the original created date of the painting is provided in the metdata description instead of the digitization date, it would conflict with the one-to-one principle. Therefore, we need to use our best judgment to create metadata meaningful for users, rather than just follow straight rules and miss the information users need.