egms1.jpgThe e-GMS, part of the e-GIF, is an application profile of the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. It replaced the older e-GMF. Version 2 came out in December 2003, and is available here.

The standard consists of mandatory, recommended and optional metadata elements.

Mandatory and Recommended Metadata Elements

An entity responsible for making the content of the resource. Not to be confused with Publisher: the Creator is responsible for the intellectual or creative content of the resource, whereas the publisher simply makes the resource available. Include the full hierarchy, e.g. department, division, section, team. Give full contact details if possible, especially when they are not to be given elsewhere, i.e. where the creator is different from the publisher/distributor.

Acronyms may be meaningless to users. Use the full official title of the organisation, or link to a glossary or explanatory note.

A date associated with an event in the life cycle of the resource. Has to be in W3C syntax, ie. ccyy-mm-dd. There can be further refinements, eg. date.acquired, date.created, date.modified and so on.

In XML syntax that would appear as <Date><Created>1967-08-03</Created></Date>.

Subject Category
This is subject.category, a subelement refinement of the Subject element. At least one term should appear in the Government Category list, and it should reflect the main subject of the resource. Keywords help too. In XML it might look something like this:
<Category> Tourism</Category>
<Keyword> Foreign travel; Travel advice; British embassies;

A formal or meaningful name given to the resource.

Accessibility (if applicable)
Mandated only for core pages of web sites, which should carry an Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) label indicating the suitability of the material for children.

Identifier (if applicable)
A unique identifier. The standard recognises that this might be difficult to achieve in practice, especially as URLs are so temporary.
Publisher (if applicable)
Used in its widest sense, so an organisation that places an information resource on a web site is the publisher, even if no hard-copy version is made available. The publisher is the person or organisation a user needs to contact in order to obtain permission to re-publish the information contained in the resource or to obtain copies in a different format.

Coverage (recommended only)
Will be split either coverage.spatial or coverage.temporal. The later means covering dates of a resource, even if it’s published or created at a different date.

Language (recommended only)

Optional elements which seem relevant to digital preservation

Digital signature

The e-GMS leaves this one pretty much blank, unfortunately. The “National Archives (formerly PRO) will examine what metadata is likely to be created by digital signature technology and how far it is of relevance/use in records management when the adoption of this technology is further advanced in the UK government. Changes will be made to this element when this work is completed.”

The digital manifestation of the resource. It is better to have separate metadata for each format of the resource, rather than one entry with several formats listed. Recommended best practice is to select a value from a controlled vocabulary, such as MIME. Format is not to be confused with Type (which is minutes, text, whatever).

The example they give is:

For a Word document held on a CD-ROM
format: Text/MS Word 97 medium: CD-ROM

and in XML:
<Description>XML schema, W3C Recommendation 2001</Description>

The location of the resource.

Information required to support the long-term preservation of a resource. The notes say “It will be used to support departmental migration activity, sustainability and
archival preservation of the resource, and preserve aspects of the provenance of the resource across transfer of custody between departments and to the National Archives.”

Can use preservation.originalFormat as a refinement, if the data has been migrated. The example they give is:

For a resource which was originally created in WordStar version 2, but has since been converted to Word and is no longer available in WordStar
Preservation.originalFormat: WordStar v2

and in XML:
<OriginalFormat> WordStar v2 </OriginalFormat>
<Preservation> Microsoft Word 2002 (10.3416.2501) SP-1</Preservation>

Enables the user to find other resources that are related to a resource, or to group together individual resources which then form a collection. There are loads of possible subelements, such as relation.replaces [replaces an earlier resource with similar content], or relation.requires [the described resource requires the referenced resource to support its function, delivery, or coherence of content].

Indicates who has the right to see, copy, redistribute, republish or otherwise make use of all or part of the resource. Loads of subelements here.

The nature of the resource, such as “minutes,” “questionnaire.” The terms should be taken from the e-GMS type encoding scheme, where possible.