Descriptive Metadata for Web Archiving

OCLC Research established the Web Archiving Metadata Working Group (WAM) to develop recommendations for descriptive metadata. Their approach is tailored to the unique characteristics of archived websites, with an eye to helping institutions improve the consistency and efficiency of their metadata practices in this emerging area. The result of this collaboration is three publications that cover recommendations to help institutions improve the consistency and efficiency of their metadata practices, a literature review of user needs, and a review of web harvesting tools.

Recommendations of the OCLC Research Library Partnership Web Archiving Metadata Working Group

By: Jackie Dooley and Kate Bowers

WAM's overall objective was to develop practices for creating consistent metadata that address the unique characteristics of websites and collections. More specifically:

  • Develop community-neutral, standards-neutral practices for descriptive metadata for archived web content, taking into account the needs of end users and metadata practitioners.
  • Define a lean set of data elements with usage notes to guide the preparation of data content.
  • Ensure that the data elements can be used in concert with other standards that have far more granular data element sets.
  • Provide a bridge between bibliographic and archival approaches to description.
  • Use a scalable approach that requires neither in-depth description nor extensive changes to records over time.
  • Enable practitioners to have confidence that they are contributing to the application of consistent practice in this emerging area.

WAM's recommended practices can be used by any institution or person with a need to describe web content. Some potential use cases:

  • Scholars building personal archives of websites for research purposes
  • Libraries and archives using RDA/MARC that seek specific guidance on the elements and content that are most pertinent to description of web content
  • Archives and libraries having a need to map their DACS-based MARC records and/or EAD-encoded finding aids to the more simplified structure of a digital repository or a web tool such as Archive-It
  • Digital repositories encoding metadata for web content in MODS without reference to any content standard
  • Archive-It users seeking guidance on creating content for Dublin Core elements

Download US Letter .pdf

Download A4 .pdf    

Suggested citation:

Dooley, Jackie, and Kate Bowers. 2018. Descriptive Metadata for Web Archiving: Recommendations of the OCLC Research Library Partnership Web Archiving Metadata Working Group. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. doi:10.25333/C3005C.