National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)


Metadata, or information about information, is an important aspect of records management. Scores of schemas and metadata sets exist internationally and the subject has recently received attention in the Netherlands too, particularly within the government.

Two issues are particularly important:

  • Information must be locatable;
  • Information must be interpretable and re-usable. Important aspects such as reliability and authenticity are intrinsic to this.

Before information can be offered and exchanged, it must first be located. This relies upon the presence of appropriate metadata.  Ministries, municipalities, the Information Council (Voorlichtingsraad) and projects from Advies have aimed to reach agreement on this.

The requirements for a complete records management metadata set are defined in the NEN-ISO 23081 standard for Metadata (Information and documentation – archives management processes, parts 1-1:2006 and 1-2:2009.) More information about metadata guidelines for the government is available from the Advies.Overheid website (in Dutch).

A well-known international standard for resource description is the Dublin Core set, a limited set of fifteen metadata elements.

A variation of the Dublin Core has been determined for web metadata: OWMS or Government Web Metadata Standard.  This Dutch standard indicates which metadata must be associated with documents published on the Internet. According to the requirements for records management, this standard is incomplete since it does not cover:

  • authenticity
  • reliability
  • integrity
  • interpretability
  • understandability

The above points are the concerns of records management metadata, which is a much broader set.