In order to provide a consistent display experience for users of the Calisphere website, we need a core metadata record for each item along with a thumbnail (particularly for image-based images). This page provides an overview to prepare metadata according to our current requirements, informed by inclusive description practices.

Required metadata fields

Calisphere currently requires a handful of key metadata fields, listed below. We require some key bits of metadata -- if it's not in your records, no problem!  We can globally "inject" the metadata at the time we harvest -- we'll just need to confer with you on what information should be added.

  • Our minimum descriptive metadata requirements include:
    • Title: a descriptive title for the item
    • Identifier: a unique identifier for the item
    • Rights status: a statement or indicator of the rights and/or re-use terms for the item. Please let us know if you are using standardized rights or re-use protocols (e.g., Creative Commons,, Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels, etc.)
    • Type: a term characterizing format or type of the item, using the Dublin Core Type Vocabulary
    • Note that we support (and encourage) more descriptive records (see section below).
  • Our functional discovery requirements include:
    • Webpage URL to the item record: this URL will point users to access/view the digital content in your local platform. It is typically something we can derive, based on the protocol or method your digital collections system uses to share metadata.
    • Image file URL to display a thumbnail for image-based items (optional for audio/visual and document-based items).: This URL is also typically something we can derive, based on the protocol or method your digital collections system uses to share metadata.

Inclusive metadata considerations

In addition to our current metadata requirements, here are some additional considerations to prepare metadata records. Please include sufficient descriptive information so researchers may analyze the digital primary source records in context of their cultural and historical significance.

  • Do the item records have supporting descriptions to provide appropriate historical context?
  • Does your organization assess digital collections and records for outdated terms and/or biased language in the description?
  • Does your organization maintain guidelines specifying how you describe items and/or re-assess descriptions of items in your digital collections? Are there particular conventions, taxonomies, or standards that you utilize?

Please feel free to view our suggested resources listed in our “Shared Readings, Resources, and Considerations: Inclusive Practices for Access and Description” page.

Full-text transcriptions in the metadata

Calisphere dedicates all harvested metadata to the public domain through a CC0 Public Domain Dedication, as stated on the Calisphere Metadata and Digital Content Re-Use page. For this reason, we are unable to support  full-text transcriptions represented in the metadata. Please let us know if you are including full-text transcriptions from the digital resource in the metadata, and we can work with you to suppress that information from the Calisphere item record.

Supported metadata formats

There are no restrictions on metadata formats that can be harvested. However, the metadata must be mappable to a set of standardized data elements, which have been based on the DPLA Metadata Application Profile