The Crossref Curriculum

Descriptive metadata

Descriptive (bibliographic) metadata consists of metadata used to describe and cite an item. Examples of bibliographic metadata include authors, titles, pages, dates. The bibliographic metadata you register with Crossref is used in two significant ways:

  1. Matching DOIs to citations
  2. Capturing citations in reference management tools

Reference (or citation) management tools help researchers record, manage, and use bibliographic citations (references). The user adds references to the software, which uses the metadata of each source to create a database. Information from the database can be shared, and used in generating bibliographies. Learn more about different types of reference management software.

It is best to generate the metadata from your content management system and not from your typeset document, in order to avoid metadata reuse problems later, such as confused matching, messed up citation counts, and inconsistent display.

Our best practices are designed to maximize matching likelihood and ensure that bibliographic management tools are able to use our metadata to generate citations.

Learn more about the three main types of metadata: descriptive (bibliographic), administrative, and structural.

In this section, learn more about:

Page owner: Laura J. Wilkinson   |   Last updated 2020-April-08