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CollectionBuilder Metadata

CollectionBuilder projects are driven by metadata–i.e. the structured description of the objects in your collection–i.e. a spreadsheet with each row describing one of your items! The information contained in your metadata will populate the site, creating item pages and visualizations to browse the collection. Good metadata will be rewarded by a more engaging and interconnected site!

CollectionBuilder has some metadata conventions that you’ll need to follow in order for your site to build correctly. It can accommodate any metadata field you dream up, but a few specific fields are required for the tool to work, and others are required if you would like certain visualizations to function out of the box.

We’ve created metadata templates that contain all the required, visualization-dependent, and recommended fields. Each CollectionBuilder version has its own template and requirements, so be sure to use the table of contents below to navigate to the metadata docs specific to the version you are using.

In many cases you will be transforming existing metadata to populate your new digital collection site – we’ve included instructions for this too! CollectionBuilder is very flexible with metadata, but you will have to ensure you add the required fields to your existing metadata to get things working.

Before You Start: To prevent formatting and encoding errors that can result from using Microsoft Excel, we recommend editing your metadata in Google Sheets. If your data will require a good amount of wrangling to get it into CollectionBuilder’s format, we suggest you use OpenRefine, a tool that facilitates data cleaning and transformation.

Data Dictionary

For a more detailed description of how each CollectionBuilder metadata field is defined and mapped, see the CollectionBuilder Data Dictionary. Our basic template is based on best practices for interoperable Dublin Core metadata.

Table of contents