AC - Administrative Components

Dublin Core DCMI Administrative Metadata

Jytte Hansen, Danish Bibliographic Centre
Leif Andresen, Danish National Library Authority

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Administrative Metadata Working Group - final version 28 October 2003.
Moved to and Annex 1 with examples removed and replaced by link to XML-files. (May 2009).
Since November: Hosted by Royal Danish Library / Det Kgl. Bibliotek




The goal of AC - Administrative Components is to provide a practical tool for users of metadata to manage metadata with special focus on interoperability between different systems. This indicates the limitations of this metadata set: it is for administration of metadata - not for administration of resources.

AC - Administrative Components is developed within the framework of Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Administrative Metadata Working Group 2001-2003.

Relation to other initiatives:

The focus for AC - Administrative Components metadata set is interoperability between systems with content metadata. Other initiatives have others focuses. The word "administrative" is in METS (Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard) used for management of digital library objects. Other related functions are record keeping, resource management and preservation metadata.

OAI-PMH (The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) includes some metadata elements for administration. For users of OAI-PMH information such as identifier and date will be handled by OAI-PMH and not AC.

None of these initiatives meet all the requirements in relation to control interchange of metadata records between systems. This is the reason for the present specification.

This document sets out a three-part proposal for a standard for administrative metadata:

· Metadata for the entire record
· Metadata for update and change
· Metadata for batch interchange of records

One informative annex complements it.

January 2006 updated with new element “Source” and a link to an XML schema added in the end. Namespace updated July 2012.


AC - Administrative Components

Dublin Core DCMI Administrative Metadata

Final version JULY 2003

Specification updated 27 January 2006.

Specification updated 11 July 2012.



General rules

The name of this metadata element set is Administrative Components.

The namespace is

All metadata elements are optional and repeatable. A specific implementation can define additional rules including that some elements are mandatory.

None of the elements are specified as mandatory for all kinds of use of AC. It is up to the individual project, organisation, web-site etc. to decide which elements are to be mandatory. A tool for that can be an Application Profile to specify instructions for use of Dublin Core, domain specific metadata element set(s) and metadata about management of the content metadata - including e.g. mandatory AC elements for specific use.
The idea is that the different projects, organisations, institutions etc. shall pick up the elements they can use.



Metadata for the entire record

Name: identifier
Label: Identifier
Definition: A string or a number, which identifies the metadata record
Comment: Can be the internal number in a database.

Name: source
Label: Source
Definition: A string or a number, which identifies recording entity
Comment: Can be a library code or an acronym for museum, archive etc..

Name: scope
Label: Scope
Definition: Declaration of the scope of application
Comment: Will often be declared by means of a separate form. This element can be used either as unstructured text just with an informal declaration like "national bibliography" or by using a SCHEME for a formal declaration like "catalogue code".

Name: comment
Label: Comment
Definition: Comment on the Administrative Component metadata
Comment: E.g. comments pointing at special circumstances in connection with the transmitted metadata

Name: location
Label: Metadata Location
Definition: An unambiguous reference to the content metadata within a given context
Comment: This element is only used if the content metadata and administrative metadata
are not in the same location.
Recommended best practice is to identify the content metadata by means of a string or number conforming to a formal identification system. Examples of formal identification systems include the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) (including the Uniform Resource Locator (URL)) and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI).
Other identifiers, such as local repository/database keys, may be used.

Name: language
Label: Language
Definition: Language of metadata
Comment: Encoded ISO 8601, ISO 639-2.

Name: rights
Label: Rights Ownership
Definition: Information about rights held in and over the content metadata
Comment: Typically, the Rights element will contain a rights management statement for the content metadata, or refer to a service providing such information. For at more detailed control specific projects can use SCHEMEs for administration of rights for the specific project.

Name: dateRange
Label: Valid Date Range
Definition: The start and/or end date of the validity of the content metadata
Comment: Content metadata accessed outside the date ranges should be considered to be invalid.
Encoded to the W3C Profile of ISO 8601 including the use of the "/" to indicate the range scope. For example, "/1999-12-31" indicates validity up to 31 December 1999, "1999-01-01/" indicates validity from 1 January 1999 onwards, and "1999-01-01/1999-12-31 indicates validity between the two specified dates.

Name: handling
Label: Handling specification
Definition: Instructions for handling the administrative metadata and the metadata record in full. To this element is attached a SCHEME with the values:
· Harvest: the record shall be included in a harvesting
· Public: the content metadata must be shown to the public
· Manual: the metadata record must be checked automatically
· Keep: when adding administrative metadata, shall old versions of same element be kept
· Mail: Mail to be sent
Comment: This element defines instructions of future actions.
(See also the element: Action)


Metadata for update and change

Name: activity
Label: Activity
Definition: This element reflects an action performed on the content metadata
Comment: The element functions as a container, which connects an action (see below) with the one responsible for its accomplishment, the date on wich the activity took place, etc.


Name: action
Label: Action
Definition: The action performed on the content metadata by the responsible entity
Comment: The actions are taken from a non-exhaustive list including:
created, submitted, modified, checked, link collected, resource harvested, expired, mail sent and three codes for deleted: delete_error_record, delete_disappearance and delete_out_of_scope
This list shows the history of actions. (See also the element: Handling).
Other sources may be used for the action values such as codes from the USMARC Relator List.
To this element is attached a SCHEME TypeOfActivity with the values:
• created

• submitted

• modified

• checked

• link-collected

• resource-harvested

• resource-disappeared

• expired

• mail-sent

• delete-error-record

• delete-disappearance

• delete-out-of-scope

Name: name
Label: Name
Definition: The name of the entity responsible for undertaking a defined action on the content metadata
Comment: Examples of Name include a person, an organisation, or a service.
Where the person has an affiliation with an organisation, this information may be included.
The name of a person should be provided in reverse order, that is, last name before first name, with a comma separator.

Name: email
Label: Email Address
Definition: Electronic Mail address for the responsible entity
Comment: The email address must be encoded to be consistent with Internet Address standard RFC822.

Name: contact
Label: Contact Information
Definition: Information on how to contact the responsible entity
Comment: The information should be one or more of: a street or postal address, a telephone number, a facsimile number, an Internet address, or other forms of physical or electronic contact information.
Links to full descriptions of the responsible entity may also be included, such as name registries.

Name: date
Label: Date
Definition: The date on which the activity took place
Comment: Encoded to the W3C Profile of ISO 8601.
This unspecified date must be used in connection with an action, e.g. "submitted"

Name: affiliation
Label: Affiliation
Definition: The organization with which the named person was associated when involved with the resource
Comment: Often the "affiliation institution" will be the formally responsible entity


Metadata for batch interchange of records

A number of elements relevant in connection with data exchange via batch files

Name: database
Label: Database
Definition: Code identifying a database
Comment: The code is used to identify the database to which a batch file is sent.
Is related to Metadata Location.

Name: transmitter
Label: Transmitter
Definition: Name or code for transmitter
Comment: The name/code (e.g. a library number) will be used to identify an organization with which formal routines of data exchange are established.
A code may include the type of transmitter (e.g. public library, research library, publisher)

Name: filename
Label: Filename
Definition: Name of a batch file
Comment: Name of the individual batch file. It may be combined with transmitter name.

Name: technicalFormat
Label: Technical format
Definition: Technical data exchange format
Comment: The format is taken from a non-exhaustive list including:

Name: characterSet
Label: Character set
Definition: Name of character set used
Comment: The character sets must refer to relevant standards

Name: bibliographicFormat
Label: Bibliographic format
Definition: Bibliographic format for data exchange
Comment: The format are taken from a non-exhaustive list including:
MARC21, danMARC2, DC

Name: resultFile
Label: Address of result file
Definition: Localization of result file
Comment: E.g. an email address of a transmitter


XML Schema

Link to XML Schema:

Actual version:

Older superseded versions:



Examples of Encoding in XML: