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Introduction to Metdata, edited by Murtha Baca
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This is the repository for Introduction to Metadata (3rd edition) edited by Murtha Baca, published July 2016 by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. This free online edition is available at Paperback and e-book formats are also available for sale.

The book was created with an early version of Getty Publications’ middleman book template. The template is a offspring of two earlier digital publications—catalogues of ancient terracottas and roman mosaics in the J. Paul Getty Museum—and it is currently being developed into a stable, open source package for use by other museums and publishers.

About the Book

Metadata provides a means of indexing, accessing, preserving, and discovering digital resources. The volume of digital information available over electronic networks has created a pressing need for standards that ensure correct and proper use and interpretation of the data by its owners and users. Well-crafted metadata is needed more now than ever before and helps users to locate, retrieve, and manage information in this vast and complex universe.

The third edition of Introduction to Metadata, first published in 1998, provides an overview of metadata, including its types, roles, and characteristics; a discussion of metadata as it relates to web resources; and a description of methods, tools, standards, and protocols for publishing and disseminating digital collections. This revised edition is an indispensable resource in the field, addressing advances in standards such as linked open data, changes in intellectual property law, and new computing technologies, and offering an expanded glossary of essential terms.

Using this Repository

We are dedicated to maintaining the book at the permanent URL,, and in its various formats and incarnations. For any updates to the book, we will be following something between an app and traditional book publication model. Updates will only be made in regulated chunks as formal revisions and new editions and will always be thoroughly documented here in the repository, as well as in the Revision History included on the book’s About page.

The primary content pieces of the book can be found in the data and source directories. The master branch represents the current, published edition at all times, and the revisions branch, when present, will show changes currently under consideration. We invite you to submit suggestions or corrections via pull request on the revisions branch, by posting an issue, or by emailing us at


Introduction to Metadata © 2008, 2016 J. Paul Getty Trust.

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