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.

Citation Information


Baca, Murtha, ed. Introduction to Metadata. 3rd ed. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2016. http://www.getty.edu/publications/intrometadata.


Baca, Murtha, ed. Introduction to Metadata. 3rd ed. Los Angeles: Getty P, 2016. DD Mon. YYYY <http://www.getty.edu/publications/intrometadata>.

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Revision History

Any revisions or corrections made to this publication after the first edition date will be listed here and in the project repository at https://www.github.com/gettypubs/intrometadata, where a more detailed version history is available. The revisions branch of the project repository, when present, will also show any changes currently under consideration but not yet published here.

July 20, 2016

  • First release

November 9, 2016

  • Add links to e-book editions
  • Update Cataloguing in Publication record

Other Formats

The Getty Research Institute Publications Program
Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Director, Getty Research Institute
Gail Feigenbaum, Associate Director

© 2008, 2016 J. Paul Getty Trust
First edition 1998
Third edition 2016

Published by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500
Los Angeles, California 90049-1682

Murtha Baca, Series Editor
Tom Fredrickson, Manuscript Editor
Marissa Clifford, Proofreader
Gary Hespenheide, Designer
Amita Molloy, Production
Eric Gardner, Digital Designer and Developer
Greg Albers, Digital Project Manager

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  • Names: Baca, Murtha, editor. | Getty Research Institute, issuing body.
  • Title: Introduction to metadata / edited by Murtha Baca.
  • Other titles: Introduction to metadata (2016)
  • Description: Third edition. | Los Angeles : Getty Research Institute, [2016] | Includes bibliographical references.
  • Identifiers: LCCN 2015046323 (print) | LCCN 2015050428 (ebook) | ISBN 9781606064795 (pbk.) | ISBN 9781606064801 (epub) | ISBN 9781606065006 (online)
  • Subjects: LCSH: Metadata. | Database management. | World Wide Web. | Information organization.
  • Classification: LCC QA76.9.D3 I599 2016 (print) | LCC QA76.9.D3 (ebook) | DDC 025.3--dc23
  • LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2015046323

Cover illustration © 2016 Dung Hoang

Note: The editor and authors of this publication are aware that the noun “metadata” (like the noun “data”) is plural and, therefore, should take a plural verb form. However, in order to avoid awkward locutions, it has been treated here throughout as singular.