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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.45 Title




Identifying Attributes





Defined by

Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, v1.1

Element URI

Definitional Attributes

DC Definition

A name given to the resource.

DC Comment

Typically, a Title will be a name by which the resource is formally known.


To assist in identifying the record.

To describe the content of the record.


"Registration specifies the following metadata as a minimum: … c) a title or abbreviated description..." ISO Technical Report 15489-2, s. 4.3.3

"A useable record is one that can be located, retrieved, presented and interpreted." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 7.2.5

"The primary purpose of registration is to provide evidence that a record has been created or captured in a records system, and an additional benefit is that it facilitates retrieval. It involves recording brief descriptive information or metadata about the record and assigning the record an identifier, unique within the system." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.4

"The movement of records should be documented to ensure that items can always be located when required. Tracking mechanisms may record the item identifier, the title…" ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.8.3

"Metadata should be used to identify records and facilitate their retrievability and usability in records systems. A records system should provide ready access to all relevant records and their related metadata." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.2.3

"Metadata for accessibility should do the following … e) document descriptive information that facilitates record use and understanding, such as … title …." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s.

"Ongoing description is necessary to keep the records meaningful for use." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s.

Value Domain

Non-enumerated strings of text representing titles.

Datatype Name



Applicable at record level only.


Mandatory at record level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme






Conditions of Application - Record


Free text


Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked


Yes, by authorized official only.


Not repeatable

Conditions of Application - File







Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

This element is used to distinguish one record from another.

This element should not be confused with the element File Name which distinguishes one file from another.

b) Best Practices

Meaningful titles shall be assigned for accessibility, speed of identification, and to facilitate control. Business rules should be created for document titling conventions.

Since the metadata record acts as a surrogate of the actual resource, the title used in the metadata element should match the title used within the content of the record itself. It is not the same as the name of the digital file (e.g. the name a user assigns to a Microsoft Word file)

In the case of a memo or email, in the absence of a title, the "Subject:" line should be used.

However, not all records (e.g. executive correspondence, image files, etc.) contain titles. In such cases, end-users may supply a user-defined title in order to facilitate searching and disambiguate one record from another. Without a meaningful title, individual records would have to be viewed in order to locate the one required. It is recommended that institutions create business rules for the identification of titles constructed by an end-user (e.g. the use of square brackets to frame a user-supplied title).

In addition, each institution requires business rules dictating the application of bilingual titles to records.

If the title of a record is not deemed to be meaningful, an authorized official can change the title even after the record has been locked; best practice is to only add information to the existing title for clarity and not alter the supplied title.

c) Obligation

This element is deemed mandatory because it is a fundamental records management requirement.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

If the record is an email, this element may be auto-populated with the "Subject:" line.

e) Linkages


f) Examples

  1. "Metadata for Records Management in the Government of Canada"

  2. "Government of Canada Records Management Application Profile"

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