Unqualified Dublin Core for judicial opinion metadata

DC element usage

These approach reflects decisions and definitions documented here.


Name of the case. It is expected that party names will be embedded in this title in a way that will allow user-space applications to parse them easily, eg. Atlantic Dental Products v. Bruce.


Used to represent the author of a judicial opinion. See also dc.contributor, and read the discussion here.


Element used to optionally encode keywords or classification codes indicating taxonomy or other classificatory information. Optional.


Free-text element extensively overloaded (abused) in this standard. May occur multiple times with different meanings:

  • Free text description

  • When no leading qualifier is used, the Description element is assumed to be a free-text description or summary of the case such as might be used in an indicative index, search results list, or other presentation of compact summaries
  • Holding

  • When the Description element begins with the token 'Result:', it is assumed to be a summary of the result or holding of the case.
  • Multipart

  • When the Description element begins with the token 'Multipart:', it is assumed that what follows is a comma-delimited list of subdocuments within the main document, eg. Syllabus,Majority Opinion, Concurrence, Concurrence, Dissent, etc.
  • Multicase

  • When the Description element begins with the token 'Multicase:', it is assumed that what follow is a comma-delimited list of case identifiers disposed of or decided by the item. Typically in the US this would be a list of docket numbers. Note that this is intended to be a list of identifiers ONLY, not (eg.) a list of case titles or other descriptive information.
  • dc.publisher
  • Used to encode the publisher, if distinct from the repository operator. Note that the court or official body is actually represented by the dc.coverage element. This is a Dublin Core idiosyncrasy, but unambiguous.


Sitting judge not the primary author of the document. Use of this element is ambiguous in situations where an item contains sub-documents that are separately authored, and no authorship status should be inferred from it in such a case.


Official date of decision of the judgment. ISO8601 YYYY-MM-DD format is expected.


The Type element should only be used when the item is part of a compound dissemination. Valid contents might include "Majority opinion", "dissent", "concurrence", "syllabus", "erratum", and so on. Intelligent harvesters may then use the Relation element to identify other parts of the same dissemination.


MIME type of the associated computer file, eg. PDF, word-processing formats, etc.


Multiple identifier elements may be used. Minimally, there must be an Identifier element specifying the fully-qualified URI of the resource for retrieval or indexing purposes. Additional identifier elements may be used to specify (eg.) print citation or other official identifiers such as docket numbers.


Not used. Likely confused with the Relation element, which see.


Language used.


Used to encode related documents. The content of the element should be a URI. The URI may point to versions of this item in other languages, or to other items that are components of the same judgement (in the case of a multipart judgement).


Represents the court, eg. <dc:coverage>Supreme Court of the United States</dc:coverage>


Not used at the item level; see above.