This document defines a records management metadata element set recommended for use in the Government of Canada ("GC"). It outlines the metadata that should be captured in records management systems used by federal government institutions. This element set shall be known as the Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard ("GC RMMS"). It forms the basis of the Government of Canada Records Management Application Profile ("GC RMAP").
Essentially, both the GC RMMS and GC RMAP outline the "language" of the business of records management, a language which consists of 50 concepts.
In general terms, metadata is structured information about the characteristics of a analog or digital resource1 which helps identify and manage that resource. It is information about a resource constructed for a purpose to fulfill an activity.
There are many types of metadata, serving different functions:
In the context of records management, ISO 15489 - Information and documentation - Records management - Part 1: General defines metadata as "data describing the context, content and structure of records and their management through time".2
The use of metadata helps government institutions identify, authenticate, describe, locate and manage their resources in a systematic and consistent way to meet business, accountability and archival requirements. In this respect, the metadata schema plays the same role as descriptive information captured in the registry tools used in the paper-based environment to apply intellectual and physical controls to resources.
In the records management domain, metadata falls into two categories3:
Additional information about metadata and its uses can be found on the GC Information Management Portal4.
The GC RMMS promotes a standardized approach to managing metadata necessary for records management within and among GC institutions. It simplifies the management of records throughout their life cycle. Furthermore, it promotes the ability to access the correct information at the required time for improved decision-making.
The GC RMMS and GC RMAP outline the 'language' of the business of records management.
Metadata identified in the GC RMMS helps institutions to meet their legislative, regulatory, policy and compliance requirements. It supports the implementation of the GC's Management of Government Information Policy (MGI Policy)5, the purpose of which is to "ensure that information under the control of the Government of Canada is managed effectively and efficiently throughout its life cycle."
The GC RMMS establishes a common vocabulary that facilitates and promotes interoperability for accessing records across large knowledge management domains. In addition, it ensures that records transferred to Library and Archives Canada will contain appropriate metadata to assist in continued access and retrieval.
The GC endorses ISO standards for records management and is a proponent of their use.
The GC RMMS conforms to the following ISO documents for records management:
Taken together, the GC RMMS and GC RMAP supersede a previous GC metadata element set, Record Keeping Metadata Requirements for the Government of Canada (January 2001)6. This previous element set was originally developed by members of the Work Processes and Practices Working Group in the context of implementing Records, Document, and Information Management System (RDIMS), the shared solution for records, documents and information management in the GC.
The GC RMMS is aligned with the GC information management standard, TBITS 39: Treasury Board Information Management Standard, Part 1: Government On-Line Metadata Standard7. A mapping is provided from the GC RMMS to the five mandatory metadata elements required to describe GC resources for information discovery purposes. Elements requiring population with values from enumerated domains or controlled vocabularies are identified.
The GC RMAP is directed to employees of the GC and, in particular, to the following groups:
1. For the purposes of the records management domain and the GC RMMS in particular, use of the word "resource" pertains to a record or a file.
2. ISO International Standard 15489-1:2001, s. 3.12
3. ISO Technical Specification 23081-1:2004, s. 5.3