The KB's collection contains millions of books, newspapers and magazines, all of which are carefully described using a specific standard and structure. Such descriptions of data are called metadata. Metadata are one of the KB's areas of expertise.

What are metadata?

Metadata are needed to be able to find the publications in the KB's collection. For example, it makes it possible to use the KB catalogue to request the books so that you can read them. Metadata are also necessary to keep digital publications accessible in the future. 

The metadata of the KB's collections are important not only for the KB's own services, such as the KB catalogue or Delpher. They can also be valuable to others, as sources for Wikipedia and scientific research, for example. 

What does the KB do with metadata?

The KB's work on metadata is divided into three domains:

  • Bibliographic metadata: to make publications accessible. We use the Pica+ standard for this. We are also working on a transition to international standards for metadata, such as Marc21, IFLA LRM and RDA.
  • Conservation metadata: to keep digital publications permanently accessible. The foundation for these consists of the OAIS model, the guidelines for reliable digital archives (ISO-16363) and the metadata standard PREMIS.
  • Usability metadata: for reuse by others. In this area, our focus lies especially on making metadata available for other services and as linked data via We primarily use the standard.

Why are metadata so important?

Good metadata are important for bringing people and information together. They give meaning to the collection, making it easier for users to search through it. Good metadata ensure that the KB's collection will remain visible, preservable and usable in the future.

Easy retrieval thanks to metadata

The result of the experts' work is lots of files full of metadata. Users of KB services, such as the KB catalogueDBNL and Delpher, can easily find the texts they are looking for thanks to these metadata. The people who work at the KB also use metadata to be able to store papers and digital collections properly.

Our experts

Heb je vragen over het werken met metadata?

For the press: want to know more?

Helen Johnson
Press officer
06 - 42 26 88 11