How to Read a TIMEA Metadata Record

TIMEA provides as much information (or "metadata") about material included in the archive as we can. With books, we typically draw catalog information from WorldCat, including Library of Congress subject terms and authoritative names for the authors and titles. Handling images such as postcards and stereographs can be trickier, but we try to derive as much information as possible from the objects themselves, then conduct additional research where possible.

To capture and present the metadata about texts and images, we use the Dublin Core standard. Dublin Core is so flexible that it can be applied in many different ways, so we have adopted the Collaborative Digitization Program Dublin Core Metadata Best Practices for describing digitized objects, making some local modifications described below.

Digital objects in TIMEA are stored in three different systems, depending on the type of material. Different metadata fields are used in each system, but the TIMEA portal provides a common mechanism of searching and browsing across these systems.

TIMEA DSpace Metadata

Selected metadata fields are presented in the brief item record, using the labels shown below in italics. The full record presents all of the metadata using the Dublin Core field names. Metadata is made available for harvesting and federated searching, since DSpace is an Open Archives Initiative (OAI) data provider.

Appears in collections
Defines the specific collection in which the resource appears, such as TIMEA Historical Maps and Plans, TIMEA Texts, or TIMEA Images.

Boilerplate text describing what organizations funded TIMEA: the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI), Rice University.

Specific places referenced by the text, image, or map. We use the NIMA names database as our authority to ensure consistent handling of names. If a place is referenced in an image or map or if it is clear that the item is associated with a particular place, we add the coverage.spatial keyword to enable discovery by place. Texts often mention dozens of places, so we include coverage.spatial keywords only for major places listed in the table of contents or illustration listings.

creator [Author]
The name of the author, photographer, or artist who created the original work. If this person is not known, TIMEA uses the name of the publisher, followed by (Publisher) or (Corporate Author). If no identifying information can be found, TIMEA uses "Unknown."

date.accessioned / date.available
The date that the digital object was loaded into DSpace, our content management system.
Date that the digital resource was created, given as year.

date.issued [Issue Date]
The date that the original object was published. Identifying the publication date for texts is typically unproblematic, since it is listed on the title page. If an image does not include a publication date, we do our best to identify that date based on research into the publication history, but sometimes we must use "n.d." to designate an undated item. With images and maps included in books, we use the publication date of the book unless more specific information is available.

Any text that appeared on the original image or map is captured here.

description.abstract [Abstract]
A free-text summary of the map or image.

The table of contents, which is included for the TIMEA text collection. If the book's original table of contents lacks specific descriptive information (for instance, if it just simply lists "Plate 1, Plate 2," etc.), it has been omitted from the record.

Provides brief information about how the digital version of a map or image was created.

The format of the original item. We have used the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus as our controlled vocabulary to improve access to the collection and ensure consistency.

The number of bytes associated with the primary file for the digital object, such as the XML text file or JPG image file.

The type of digital file, such as XML (marked-up text), JPG (image), or PDF file.

For XML-encoded texts, describes the XML schema that was used.

identifier.uri [URI]
The permanent URL (web address) for the digital object. This address uses a "handle" to ensure its longevity.

Specifies the language of the resource using the ISO 639-1 standard. "en" means English, "ar" Arabic, "de" German, "fr" French, and "gr" Greek.

Describes where the original resource is housed.

The organization that created the digital object. Currently TIMEA is sponsored by Rice University, which is thus named as the publisher.

Used to describe the relationship of the part to the whole. TIMEA includes maps and images that originally appeared in books, so this field is used to describe the original source and provide, where possible, a page number.

relation.ispartofseries [Series/Report no]
This boilerplate text says that the digital object is part of the Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA).

Used to specify if a work is a particular edition or translation, such as "Eighth edition."

Links to other related materials in TIMEA, such as educational modules.

Specifies the terms of usage under the Creative Commons attribution license, which requires only that you attribute the source as being TIMEA.

source.original [Original Source]
Offers detailed information about the original resource, including its author, title, publisher, publication place, and publication date. Also includes a physical description of the original item, such as size and number of pages. Details where the work is held, whether it is in the personal collection of Dr. Paula Sanders or at a particular library.

Library of Congress subject heading for the resource. Library of Congress subject headings are used with texts, maps and images to provide enriched access and ensure consistency.

subject.other [Categories]
Local subject headings used to place resources into predetermined browse categories:
  • Daily Life & Customs
  • Art & Artifacts Religion & Festivals
  • People
  • Places Architecture
  • Travel & Transportation
  • History & Politics
A resource may appear in more than one category.

The title of the work. If the title is not printed on the work itself, TIMEA supplies one, denoting that the title has been supplied by using [brackets].

Type of resource. TIMEA uses the DCMI Type Vocabulary.

TIMEA Connexions Metadata

Connnexions captures basic metadata about modules and courses; most of the fields are self-explanatory. A consistent set of subject terms has been used across the TIMEA Connexions modules. Metadata is made available for harvesting and federated searching, since Connexions is an Open Archives Initiative (OAI) data provider. Future plans include using Library of Congress subject headings for the subject terms in Connexions modules.

Title of module

Unique identifier for module

Language in which the module is written (currently all modules are in English, but we invite others to create translations)

Brief description of the module, written by the author.

Subject terms selected by the author, typically uncontrolled (that is, freely selected without reference to an authority list such as Library of Congress subject headings). TIMEA includes browse categories (subject.other above) and place names (coverage.spatial) in the subject field.

Document Type:
XML schema applied to document

Type of license/ copyright restrictions. All works in Connexions and TIMEA use Creative Commons Attribution License

Name(s) of the individual(s) who wrote the module

Copyright Holders:
Name(s) of the individual(s) who claim copyright over the module

Name(s) of the individual(s) responsible for updating the module

Current version of module, along with the history

Date module was created.

Date module was last updated.

TIMEA ArcIMS Metadata

Metadata associated with the GIS maps may be viewed via the ArcIMS map interface.

The following data sources were used:

GEOnet Names Server (GNS)
Authority for place names, along with latitude/longitude, feature type, and other information.

Digital Chart of the World

Global Planner


The GIS maps were created by Rice University's GIS Data Center between 2004 and 2006.