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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.16 Creator




Identifying Attributes




Creator or Originator [either can be used as a label]

Defined by

Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, v1.1

Element URI

Definitional Attributes

DC Definition

An entity primarily responsible for making the content of the resource.

DC Comment

Examples of a Creator include a person, an organisation, or a service. Typically, the name of a Creator should be used to indicate the entity.


To identify the entity responsible for the intellectual content of the record.


"Registration specifies the following metadata as a minimum: …d) the author (person or corporate body), sender or recipient." ISO Technical Report 15489-2, s. 4.3.3

"At the point of record capture, metadata should include metadata about agents associated with records and their management. Ensuring metadata about agents that are captured enables contextual information about agents involved in record creation and management to be documented… Agent metadata at the point of record capture should
a) identify the agents involved in records creation…" ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.4.1

Value Domain

Enumerated and/or non-enumerated strings of text representing the names of entities.

Datatype Name



Applicable at record level only.


Mandatory at record level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

Enumerated entity values must be assigned from:

  • Titles of Federal Organizations,
  • Government Electronic Directory Service (GEDS),
  • Institution-specific schemes for individuals' names, unit names, position titles (e.g. PeopleSoft, SAP, directories, etc.)



Conditions of Application - Record


Text, based on encoding scheme, or free text.


Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked





Conditions of Application - File







Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

This element is used for descriptive purposes to identify the person, entity or position title responsible for the intellectual content of the record. This is a repeatable element that can identify a creator in one of three mutually exclusive ways:

  1. a name of an individual;
  2. a name of an institutional entity; or
  3. a position title.

In each case, additional information about the creator may be included in the single instance of the element. For example, in addition to a name of an individual, the name of the institution to which the individual belongs may be concatenated to the individual's name.

Note however, that the Creator element may not be repeated to record additional information about the value placed in the first instance of the element. For example, if an individual's name is recorded in the Creator element, the element may not be repeated to then record information about that person (e.g. the name of the individual's institution, the position title of the individual, etc.) The Creator element would only be repeated if there were more than one creator of the record.

a. The following is not permitted:
Creator = "Smith, Joe"
Creator = "Indian and Northern Affairs Canada"
Creator = "Project Manager"
Creator = "Jones, Mary"
Creator = "External Consultant"
b. The following is permitted:
Creator = "Smith, Joe"
Creator = "Jones, Mary"

Or, if additional information about each Creator is to be recorded, then:

Creator = "Smith, Joe; Indian and Northern Affairs Canada; Project Manager"
Creator = "Jones, Mary; External Consultant"

The choice of a delimiter (e.g. a semicolon) to separate parts of a single entry is an EDRMS-specific concern or a local implementation decision as is the order in which the information is recorded.

Creator is not to be confused with the element Agent Individual Name which logs who has performed an action on a record or file and is auto-populated by the EDRMS. Creator is a descriptive element that is, in most cases, end-user input and is related to the making of the record.

b) Best Practices

Values for this element should be drawn from controlled vocabularies where possible. Examples of controlled vocabularies are: employee list from PeopleSoft, GEDS, Titles of Federal Organizations (published by Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat), etc. Since records can be created by external sources, this element must also allow for free text entries.

It should be noted that the Titles of Federal Organizations, presented published as of March 1998, is currently undergoing a review in order to update its content.

While use of the institutional entity's name alone is acceptable, the addition of further organization levels is helpful and recommended whenever possible.

Recommended best practice is to format the value of an individual's name using surname, first name.

Once the record is declared locked, the value of Creator cannot be modified.

c) Obligation

This element is mandatory for evidentiary purposes. It is important to know who created the content, and therefore, may be accountable for it.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

Given that this element may contain a person's name as well as information about that person, it is possible that an institutional may wish to default the entry with the institutional entity's name. Further, the Creator's name may be auto-populated.

e) Linkages


f) Examples

  1. "National Defence; Smith, John" - National Defence decides to default the element with the institution's name as selected from the Titles of Federal Organizations. They also decide to auto-populate the element with the name of the individual.

  2. "National Defence; Smith, John; Director, EDRMS" - Using the above example, John Smith may decide to add his position.

  3. "Smith, John", "Martin, Jane" - John Smith has worked with Jane Martin to create a record. The element is repeated in order to accommodate two names.

  4. "Director, EDRMS" - The position title is recorded as the creator.

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