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The CDL Digital Object Framework: A Core Digital Library Building Block

The CDL is in the process of revising the 2001 CDL Digital Object Standard: The new guidelines are slated for release in January 2005.

Digital “built content” materials comprise a significant portion of the CDL’s collections.  These materials include objects created internally by UC or converted into digital form from existing UC collections (such as manuscripts, maps, visual images, and sound files), as well as “born digital” materials such as web sites.

In order for the CDL to extend effective preservation, access, and learning tools and services to contributors and users, these objects need to be represented in a uniform manner.

The CDL digital object framework (DOF) will be a “wrapper” for a suite of modularized guidelines, principally organized around classes of digital built content supported by the CDL.  For each object classification, there will be a set of metadata, content file, and submission requirements.

What the new guidelines will do:

  • Address a wide range of burgeoning, at-risk, digital built content that is being contributed to CDL for access and preservation.
  • Establish levels of CDL services based on metadata provided by contributors.  These services include the Preservation Repository, Interface Customization Tools, Image Service, persistent public access to objects via, eScholarship, the Online Archive of California (OAC) and other gateways, and learning, viewing, and curatorial tools.
  • Address the use of the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) format for encoding objects.
  • Cover requirements for preservation, rights, descriptive, and other kinds of metadata.  Will also cover requirements for a range of content file types.


A CDL task force is preparing the DOF for release in January 2005.  This initial version will contain guidelines for images, TEI and PDF texts, and EAD finding aids.

For more information, see: