Bodleian Libraries digital policies: Metadata

The Bodleian Libraries, and other contributing libraries, create or acquire and maintain metadata that enables materials to be discoverable and usable for current and future research, teaching and learning by their reader groups including academics, students, library staff, external readers and the wider public. This metadata adequately describes the Librariesí collections, wherever these are held, and enables them to be managed well.


a) All eligible descriptive metadata in electronic form, at collection level at least, will be exposed through the Bodleian Librariesí resource discovery interface, SOLO, which will offer a single point of search for readers.

b) When it is of proven benefit to users, and technically feasible, affordable and legitimate, discrete sets of descriptive metadata in electronic form will be prepared and exposed appropriately for harvesting by external resource discovery systems.

c) Existing metadata will be used and attributed for commonly-held published materials, with the minimum of local modifications. 

d) Essential metadata will be created at the earliest possible point for the resource being described. This point will vary depending on the resource.

e) Administrative, preservation and technical metadata will be automatically obtained.

f) Metadata will be created according to commonly-accepted standards and formats. Innovative initiatives in metadata creation will be considered as opportunities arise and where resources to achieve this permit. Disciplinary differences will be acknowledged and accommodated where appropriate.

g) Metadata transformations will be undertaken according to commonly-accepted crosswalks.

h) Metadata will be licensed for use and reuse outside the Libraries by means of an open licence. Harvesters will be encouraged to include suitable attribution if appropriate.

i) The Bodleian Libraries will foster partnerships with other departments within and outside the University of Oxford to share the creation of metadata for common or shared materials where this is desirable.

j) Metadata that exists in non-machine-readable, printed or manuscript form (e.g. card catalogues) will be retrospectively converted to electronic form where this is feasible and affordable.

k) In order to keep the number of supported catalogues to a minimum, all proposals for new stand-alone catalogues will need to be approved by the Bodleian Libraries' Digital Library Steering Group, with reference to an agreed set of standards and the supporting architecture.

l) When an item from Bodleian Libraries collections is digitized, the preference is to use (and if necessary enhance) existing metadata rather than to create a new descriptive metadata record.

m) The Bodleian Libraries will contribute metadata to union catalogues where appropriate and where resources allow.

n) The Bodleian Libraries will share authority files and taxonomies across different types of catalogue.


This policy covers metadata for digital and non-digital materials held by the Bodleian Libraries, and other contributors, or held on their behalf by external agencies. This includes published works, manuscripts, research data, grey literature, official publications, printed ephemera, images and other formats. It also covers metadata for people, places and events associated with the Librariesí materials.

Relationship with other policies

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Digitization Policy, the Digital Preservation Policy, and the Digital Architecture Policy.


(1) Audit: The Bodleian Libraries Executive is responsible for ensuring effective auditing procedures for the Librariesí metadata provisions, and may delegate this responsibility to the appropriate groups or specialists.

(2) Review: This policy will be reviewed before the end of each calendar year by the Digital Library Steering Group. 

(3) Editor and primary contact for the Metadata Policy:

[i] Other contributing libraries include University of Oxford and other libraries that contribute records to the main bibliographic database and partner institutions that contribute metadata as one of the outcomes of projects and other joint initiatives.

Back to top