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PBCore is a Metadata & Cataloging Resource
for Public Broadcasters & Associated Communities

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Project Background:
At a Glance...Some Frequently Asked Questions

What is Metadata, Anyway?

"Metadata" is the information, or data, that accompanies a piece of content (digitized or analog), such as a video or audio clip, graphic, image, interactive learning object, script, etc. Examples of metadata include description, subject heading, file format, author/producer, rights holder, etc. When these fields of information use standardized vocabularies and have defined relationships, this constitutes a metadata model or dictionary. With a dictionary in hand, content can be more easily indexed, catalogued, searched and retrieved.

Why Do We All Need to Use the Same Standard?

Within public broadcasting, the application of a shared metadata dictionary will facilitate the exchange and delivery of content and data (including both program elements and completed programs) throughout our multiplatform production teams, our system of interconnected licensees and out to our broadcast and Internet constituents. It is a critical first step as PBS, NPR, PRI, individual stations, and others begin to acquire and use asset management systems to organize their content. For more information, please see Mary Jane McKinven’s article "The Case for Shared Metadata Standards"in the May 13, 2002, issue of "Current."

Who Is Involved in the Public Broadcasting Metadata Dictionary Project?

Joint licensee WGBH administered the project. A 30-person Metadata Working Group, representing local and national television and radio organizations as well as numerous constituencies and disciplines, was formed.

The project included advisors from the University of Washington Information School, the Department of Defense’s Academic CoLab (creators of the SCORM standard for learning objects) and Rutgers University/The Association of Moving Image Archivists.

For a full list of those involved, see the CPBMetadata website's list of Participants: Public Broadcasting Metadata Dictionary Project: Participants.

What Were the Goals of the Project?

  • Evaluate the user needs and applications of a shared metadata dictionary;
  • Review existing public broadcasting and other metadata work;
  • Accept and/or create the dictionary’s design (core layer and modules);
  • Test various aspects of the dictionary;
  • Make shared recommendations to the system regarding metadata specifications.

What Is the Actual Output of the Project?

The Dictionary itself will be a recommended set of "descriptor fields" that can be applied in any computer or print system. The main "descriptor fields" or "elements" are arranged within Element Containers and Sub-containers, all organized within four Content Classes. A robust User Guide is posted to assist in understanding PBCore more fully.

Each element is defined, examples supplied, and usage guidelines provided (see Full Documentation and Cheat Sheet). Where needed, there are recommendations for data entry, whether by referencing an external authority file, supplying a picklist of terms, or identifying a syntax or grammar for entering data (such as the World Wide Web Consortium standard for dates, "2002-08-20" for YYYY-MM-DD).

Additionally, the dictionary of elements is expressed as an XML Schema Definition (XSD) that is available for download and implementation.

A Cataloging Tool has been designed to assist in metadata cataloging and to facilitate interoperability with various information systems.

On-line Training Sessions are also available for review.

Haven’t Other People Already Done This?

The project took into consideration, if not directly built upon, similar work performed by likely partners (such as libraries, educators and other media companies) and bore in mind our constituents – those who like to avail themselves of our content assets.

What’s the Timeline?

Theoretically, this is a never-ending process: the "data integrity" of the Dictionary and its versions will have to be maintained and protected throughout the foreseeable future. The PBCore website is the main home for the Public Broadcasting Dictionary Project and the PBCore Elements (http://www.pbcore.org).

Do I need to License the use of PBCore Metadata Elements?

No. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has established a Creative Commons License for use of the PBCore metadata elements and their associated properties and attributes. However, you must give the Public Broadcasting Metadata Dictionary Project credit if your use of PBCore is re-published in some form. Refer to our web page on Licensing PBCore for more specific information.
Go to Licensing Information  

Read the Report to the 2003 Dublin Core Conference
Review Papers & Presentations, Resources & Links
Browse the List of Project Participants
Visit the Companion Website about Asset Management




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