CARARE Metadata Schema

The Schema

The CARARE metadata schema is a harvesting schema intended for delivering metadata about an organisation’s online collections, heritage assets and their digital resources. The strength of the schema lies with its ability to support the full range of descriptive information about monuments, building, landscape areas and their representations.

The schema is an application profile based on MIDAS Heritage, a detailed standard intended for the full documentation of all aspects of heritage management not all of which are relevant to CARARE . The CARARE schema’s focus is on the detailed description of heritage assets, events in these assets have been involved and information about where digital resources can be accessed online.

The main information classes are:

  • Heritage asset – this includes archaeological monuments, historic buildings, industrial monuments, archaeological landscape areas, shipwreck, artefacts and ecofacts as well as printed materials, archives and born-digital objects.
  • Digital resource – this provides information about the type, format and location of the online resource.
  • Collection information – this describes the collection which holds the content being provided.
  • Activity – this includes both historical events which took place at the heritage assets (such as building, alternation, demolition, battles, etc) and archaeological events (such as excavations, surveys, etc).

Version 2.0 of the CARARE metadata schema takes into account the experience gained as a result of aggregating metadata for Europeana from the 24 CARARE content providers, developments in EDM and the requirements of the 3D ICONS project to extend the activity class to include paradata and provenance of 3D models from the CIDOC CRM DIG.

Version 2.0

Version 2.0 of the CARARE metadata schema takes into account the experience gained from mapping more than 40 datasets from 20 different countries to version 1.0 of the CARARE metadata schema during the CARARE project, and of transforming CARARE metadata to EDM for supply to Europeana. This experience suggested areas where the schema might be simplified.

It was prepared in the framework of the 3D ICONS project and takes into account the need to capture paradata and provenance data describing the creating of 3D models.

The main changes in version 2.0 are as follows:

  • The scope of the Heritage Asset has been broadened to include printed materials, archives and born-digital objects relating to the archaeological and architectural heritage.
  • Digital Resource has been simplified to focus on the type, format and location of the online resource.
  • Heritage Asset becomes mandatory; there must be at least one in each CARARE object. It remains mandatory to include at least one digital resource in each CARARE object.
  • The record information has been simplified.
  • The rights statements have been simplified and metadata rights clarified.
  • The references section of the Heritage Asset has been simplified.
  • Provenance has been added to Heritage Asset.
  • Spatial information has been updated.
  • Elements for types of relations from heritage assets, digital resources and activities have been specified for clarity.

In addition to these changes, to meet the needs of the 3D ICONS project to enable information to be captured about the provenance of 3D objects. The following changes are included:

  • Activities have been extended to allow for the recording of sub-ordinate events that take place during a larger campaign.
  • New elements for types of relations have been added based on CRM-DIG.

Schema elements

The CARARE metadata schema defines four main classes of information and more than 200 elements. This allows for completeness while providing flexibility for organisations to decide which data they want to provide for harvesting.

What's in the CARARE schema?

Main classes:

  • Heritage asset identification
  • Digital resource
  • Activity
  • Collection information

Information groups:

  • Record information
  • Appellation
  • Description
  • Temporal
  • Spatial
  • Address
  • Actors
  • Contacts
  • Rights
  • Dimensions
  • Publication statement

Mandatory elements:

  • Record information id
  • Appellation - title/name + id
  • Description
  • Link

Recommended elements:

  • Format
  • Rights - copyright credit line
  • Spatial - named location
  • Temporal - start date / end date / period
  • Subject / Heritage asset 'type'
  • Type
  • Source (content provider)
  • Country (of the content provider)
  • Language (of the content)

There are some differences between version 1 and version 2 of the CARARE schema in terms of the mandatory and recommended classes and elements.

Schema Documentation

CARARE to EDM mapping file is available on request V2.0.6, XLS

Schema Background

The CARARE metadata schema builds on existing standards and best practice from a number of different countries in Europe and the rest of the world.

The standards which form the background to the CARARE metadata schema include:

CIDOC Archaeological Sites Core Data Standard

The Archaeological Sites Core Data Standard was established by an Archaeological Sites working group (ASWG with the aim of facilitating communications between the national and international bodies responsible for the archaeological heritage, to assist the development of record systems and to facilitate research using archaeological site data.

Core Data Index to Historic Buildings and Monuments of the Architectural Heritage

Core Data Index as the “Recommendation on the co-ordination of documentation methods and systems related to historic buildings and monuments of the architectural heritage” was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 11 January 1995. The basic aim of the Core Data Index is to make it possible to classify individual buildings and sites by name, location, functional type, date, architect or patron, building materials and techniques, physical condition, and protection status. It is not an end in itself, but a starting point to further information held in databases, documentation centres, and elsewhere that is necessary for the detailed understanding and care of individual monuments.


The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC CRM) is the result of over 10 years work by the CIDOC Documentation Standards Working Group and CIDOC CRM Special Interest Group, and is an ISO standard (ISO 21127 (2005)).

The CIDOC CRM is a formal standard that defines documentation concepts for the cultural heritage and the relationships between those concepts. It provides a flexible standard framework that cultural heritage data can be mapped to and provides a framework for semantic interoperability.

MIDAS Heritage

MIDAS Heritage is a data standard for information about the historic environment which was developed by English Heritage in collaboration with the UK Forum for Information Standards in Heritage and a number of heritage organisations in the UK building on the CIDOC Archaeological Sites Core Data Index and the CIDOC CRM. MIDAS Heritage covers the three main themes:

  • Heritage assets – buildings, archaeological monuments, landscape areas, shipwreck sites, find-spots, artefacts and ecofacts.
  • Activities – Field investigation, Research and Analysis, Management Activity, Casework and Consultation, Designation and Protection and also Historical events.
  • Information sources – bibliographic sources, archive materials, management documentation, and narratives and syntheses (e.g. text plus images for educational purposes).

and the following supporting information:

  • Spatial information – Location and map information
  • Temporal information – Date and period
  • Actor information – people, organisations and their roles


The POLIS DTD was produced as part of an EU funded Greek national research project to develop an interoperability framework for the cultural heritage. A series of DTDs were produced for different applications (including monument inventories, museums, archives, bibliographies etc) each derived from the CIDOC CRM. The Monument Inventory DTD was closely related to the core data index for archaeological sites.


LIDO – Lightweight Information Describing Objects is a metadata harvesting schema which was is the result of an international collaborative effort in the museums sector. LIDO is based on CDWA Lite, MuseumDat, the CIDOC CRM and SPECTRUM. LIDO is made up of a nested set of ‘wrapper’ and ‘set’ elements which structure records and contain ‘data elements’ which hold the information that is being harvested and delivered to the user of the service environment. There are 7 areas in a LIDO record for an object:

  • Object identification
  • Object classification
  • Relations of the object
  • Events – in which the object has taken part
  • Rights work – information about the rights associated with the object, metadata and digital surrogate
  • Record – basic information about the record
  • Resource – information about the resource being supplied to the service environment (Europeana)

GIS (Geographic Information System) metadata

MIDAS Heritage complies with the UK GEMINI Discovery Metadata Standard, which specifies a set of metadata elements for describing geographic datasets (which is used by the UK’s GIgateway™ metadata service run by the Association for Geographic Information). English Heritage has work underway to implement the INSPIRE directive for GIS metadata before the end of 2010.

ISO 8601

All dates in the CARARE schema conform with ISO 8601, i.e. they are specified largest temporal term first and according to the Gregorian calendar; e.g. 1981-04-05.

The CARARE schema builds on these standards and also the work of the members of the CARARE metadata working group, the DCU metadata team and the English Heritage Data Standards Unit including: Christos Papatheodorou, Phil Carlisle, Christian Ertmann-Christiansen, Kate Fernie, Maria Emilia Masci, Oliver Mamo, Börje Justrell, Sven Ole Clemens, Vassilis Tzouvaras, Dimitris Gavrilis, Stavros Angelis, Constantia Kakali, Giannis Tsakonas, Panos Constantopoulos, Costis Dallas, Sólborg Una Pálsdóttir, Effie Patsatzi, Lena Inger Larsen, Daniel Pletinckx, Nasos Drosopoulos, Vykintas Vaitkevičius, Rimvydas Laužikas, Phil Carlisle, Gillian Grayson and Stephen Stead. The CARARE metadata schema is designed to support the delivery of metadata relating to the archaeological and architectural heritage. The current version of the schema is V 2.0 .