Resource Vocabulary Principles

Guiding Principles and Best Practice Guidelines for the MACAR Resource Type Vocabulary

DCMI Type Definition : The nature or genre of the content of the resource.
Repository Type definition: A commonly understood term expressing the nature or genre of the content of the scholarly resource.


Build a type vocabulary of terms that is :

  • limited to a minimal set of standard terms for scholarly works
  • familiar to the repository community of practice
  • used with research outputs stored in repositories
  • granular. DCMI defines granularity as "the level of detail at which an information object or resource is viewed or described"
  • applicable to digital resources
  • simple and easy to apply
  • interoperable - support interoperability with less granular type vocabularies such as the DCMI Type Vocabulary etc. Provide mappings/crosswalks as required
  • compliant with the RQF (Research Quality Framework) Research Output Types
  • extensible - Add new terms as new content types are added to the repositories. Make changes to existing terms as usage changes. Delete obsolete terms. Monitor established vocabularies to inform additions/changes/deletions


The proposed type vocabulary is a flat alphabetical list with no hierarchy. Both flatter and hierarchical structures were considered and the flatter structure was preferred as this is simpler to represent in the metadata record and is easier to ensure interoperability across metadata schemas. It was agreed that the lower level concepts can be recorded in the metadata fields and together with resource type terms can provide additional functionality for repository users/managers.

A great deal of consideration was given to the level of granularity of the list but due to limitations of size and scope of the list and lack of consistency of terminology across institutions more granular terms were not included.

Standard terms are in bold.

Terms are singular nouns.

Keywords and phrases are used.

[Used for] terms are added for non-preferred terms.

Definitions and scope notes for each term are included.

Source of term [Source of Term] and Source of definition [Source of definition] are provided if available

Notes are added if required.

Resource Type terms

A practical approach rather than a purely logical one has been applied to the selection of standard terms. Terms based on the guiding principles above have been seeded from existing type vocabularies eg DCMI, RDA, Dspace, Eprints, etc. RQF compliant terms have also been included in the list and this accounts for some of the logical inconsistencies.

RQF (Research Quality Framework)

Digital repositories will be expected to store research outputs for RQF assessment. Some of these research outputs are likely to be less traditional outputs such as artworks, exhibitions, performance etc. Practical solutions are recommended for describing these. If a single media type such as text, image, moving image or sound does not provide the best fit and the resource is all or some of these then standard terms such as multimedia and interactive resource can be assigned. Optionally, if repository solutions permit, multiple resource type terms could be used to describe a complex resource.

Recommended use of resource type terms

  • Templates/worksheets and design of self submission data entry tools
    • Migration between repositories
    • Harvest from a local repository using resource types to define OAI sets
    • Searching within a local repository
    • Displaying results within a local repository
    • Searching across repositories via aggregators
    • Displaying results across repositories via aggregators

Best practice rules

Do not use this field to describe file format (eg .pdf, txt, .html )

Use case conventions as prescribed by the metadata schema. Some encoding environments eg XML are case-sensitive.

Select a value from the Resource Type vocabulary and add to the dc:type property in the record.

Select the most dominant type applicable to the resource.

If more than one type is applicable to the resource, record multiple types in repeatable type fields in a single record. Some repository software may not allow this. Optionally, consider creating multiple descriptions/records for different resource types applicable to the resource.

Interoperablility with type terms from other vocabularies eg DCMI can be supported through mappings and crosswalks.

Resource examples – Examples of records containing type fields in MARCXML, MODS and DC will be provided to illustrate best practice

XML examples - Snippets of type fields


eg <dc:type>journal article</dc:type>


<datafield tag="655" ind1=" " ind2="7"><subfield code="a">Journal article</subfield><subfield code="2">local</subfield></datafield>
<typeOfResource>journal article</typeOfResource>


DCMI Type Vocabulary

ADS ARROW National Discovery Service

NLA/ARROW Discovery Service harvesting guide

ADT (Australian Digital Theses Program) and




DEST / RQF Draft Technical Specifications

National Resource Discovery Service/ PBRF terms

RDA Content Types

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