07 – Digitization metadata

Metadata in our usage is information about a particular item or set of items. During digitization, we will record information about each item that is scanned. This information is provided to the scan tech either by the digital projects manager, the lab manager, or from transcribing metadata on the item. This form of transcription does not include full-text transcription of manuscript pages or books. It is best to not assume anything about the metadata and merely record what is in front of you. Record all information on back/front of a photograph following the phrase “On back:” or “On front:”.

  • Any information (metadata) provided should be transcribed verbatim unless otherwise instructed.
  • Any spelling mistakes identified should be included and including a correction in brackets right after the word is preferred: metdata [metadata].
  • If a word is illegible, spell out what you can read and include a question mark in brackets right after, or if you cannot discern any characters, simply type [illegible] with the brackets.
  • If a word is crossed out in the metadata, do not include it in the transcription.
  • Do not include line breaks or use the return key when recording metadata. Use semicolons to indicate line breaks.
  • Do not use any text formatting, such as bold, italicize, underline, strike through, etc.
  • Names of creators or contributors should be recorded as [last name], [title] [first name] [middle name], [suffix]. Only reformat names when recording them in the creator/contributor column.
    • King, Dr. Martin Luther, Jr.
  • Date formatting is based on ISO 8601: [yyyy], [yyyy-mm], [yyyy-mm-dd], circa [yyyy], circa [yyyy-mm].
    • If recording a date in a spreadsheet, make sure to precede the date with an apostrophe: ‘1776-07-04. This will prevent Excel from reformatting the date incorrectly.
  • Box, folder, and section information (when available) should be recorded for each individual image scanned. When working in a spreadsheet, please include this information in each cell they apply to, not simply one cell and then leaving the rest blank until a new box/folder/section is started.