Elements Rules

Element Rules

Take in account that the element “Mandate” refers to a specific legal instrument which requires the resources to be created or provided. Legal instrument includes ACTS, Regulations and other secondary legislation and binding determinations or rulings by statutory authorities

Element Refinements of this Element: act, regulation, rules, courtCase

Encoding Schemes of this Element include:

  • URI – Uniform Resource Identifier
  • Act, Regulation, Rule or Order name and shoulder number
  • Court Case reference number

Rules for the Title Element

E.1.1. Name


E.1.2. Definition

The name given to the resource or service

E.1.3. Purpose

Searchers will use this element if they know the title of the resource or words in the title of the resource

E.1.4. Obligation


E.1.5. Element refinements

alternative – another name by which the resource is known

E.1.6. Encoding schemes


E.1.7. Default value


E.1.8. Scope and interpretation

Where there is an official name used for the resource, this should be used in the Title element.

If the resource is a text document, use the full title as it appears on the title page. If the document has another common usage name, use the “alternative” refinement.

For a service, use its full explanatory name, or the official name used by the agency.

For a physical resource, which is called a “document” in the Type.category, there might not be a title on the object. The author might need to make up the most useful name for the resource, using the name which it is most commonly known by, and most likely to be searched by.

If a version statement is attached to the record to distinguish this resource from others of the same title in a time series, then the version statement should be included at the end of the title. Use the Relation element to reference other versions if required.

E.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

Use the title which the creator uses to identify the service to its clients. Use a naming convention that best identifies the service to clients. The Title element could identify an individual service or a group of services, depending on the agency structure for the delivery of that service.

Use the title element with the “alternative” element refinement if the service is commonly known by another name. For example, the official service name might be “Unemployment Benefits”, but an alternative name might be “Dole Payments”. The content of the Title element is displayed as part of the search result, so it needs to be an accurate and clear name for the service concerned.

E.1.10. The role of Title in the Portal

The Portal displays this element on the results page.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

E.1.11. Examples

New Zealand under siege : a review of the management of biosecurity risks to the environment

Applying for a New Zealand passport

Research report 1999/2000

The New Zealand Government Locator Service (NZGLS) Metadata Standard and Reference Manual, Version 1.0

Rules for the Subject Element

F.1.1. Name


F.1.2. Definition

A succinct description of the subject or topic of the resource

F.1.3. Purpose

The Subject element is used by searchers who want to find resources relating to a particular topic. For example, “find all resources related to ‘pest control’”.

It will also serve to qualify generic terms from the Function element to give a precise, combined result. For example, “Registering” from Function, plus “marriage” from Subject.

F.1.4. Obligation


F.1.5. Element refinements

None identified

F.1.6. Encoding Schemes

SONZ – “Subjects of New Zealand” thesaurus – mandatory for at least one value.

Other subject thesauri may also be used if they are registered with the NZGLS maintenance agency. This will only be necessary for specialist areas, such as scientific terms.

F.1.7. Default value


F.1.8. Scope and interpretation

The Subject element should tell the searcher what the resource is about.

When selecting values for the subject element, it will be necessary to analyse the resource being described. Don’t read the whole thing, but use the title, the contents, or any information about the resource to work out what the subject as a whole is. Then select a term which best describes the subject from the appropriate thesaurus. Choose the most significant and unique words as Subject element values, and avoid terms that are too general to describe that particular resource’s subject. Exercise your judgement on providing sufficient Subject values to help a searcher, including major secondary subjects held in the content. Do not repeat variations of terms, synonyms, case or tense, or alternate spellings.

A more detailed explanation is in ISO Standard 5963.

Where a thesaurus has been used to select the subject value, the thesaurus name should be included in the refinement for the element.

If the subject of the resource is a person or an organisation, use the same form of the name as you would if the person or organisation was a creator, but do not repeat the name in the Creator element.

If you want to describe a subject which only applies to part of the resource, or if you want to refine the description in more detail, and if there is no controlled vocabulary term in the thesaurus to do this, then you can describe these other subjects using the Description element.

The subject comes from a controlled vocabulary or thesaurus, so the searcher might be able to browse the vocabulary for relevant topics.

F.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

The subject of a service is what the service is about.

F.1.10. The role of Subject in the Portal

The Portal uses this element, along with the Function element, to allow the user to browse by topic.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

Rules for the Description Element

G.1.1. Name


G.1.2. Definition

A textual description of the content or purpose of the resource or service.

G.1.3. Purpose

The Description element allows searching based on words and phrases which describe the resource.

This is the least precise of all search points, but will often be used by searchers with vague notions of what they are looking for.

It will be used to display a summary of the resource content to the searcher.

Even where a resource is not text based, it is useful to have words or phrases describing it so that people can find it.

The Description element can also be used in addition to the Audience element to provide a text description of the intended audience for the resource.

G.1.4. Obligation


G.1.5. Element refinements


G.1.6. Encoding Schemes


G.1.7. Default value


G.1.8. Scope and interpretation

The Description element contains text describing a resource. It can contain abstracts if these are available. It can also contain:

• a prose description of the content of the resource

• a description of the nature of the service or objects, or

• thumbnail images or other electronic samples of content.

When people write a description, they should make it concise and clear, and use non-technical language.

G.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

This element is strongly recommended for services. It should provide a concise description of the content and/or purpose of the service. It should be short enough to be read out on the telephone, be client-focused, and identify the problem that the client might enquire about rather than the solution.

G.1.10. The role of Description in the Portal

The Portal displays this element on the results page.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

G.1.11. Examples

Provides information on Student Allowances, Community Wage Student, Student Loan, Legal aspects of loans, and enables people to apply for a student loan online

Tokomaha nga tauira Maori i tono mai ki nga Utu Tapui Tauira, ki nga Putea Tarewa Tauira hoki, a, me matua marama ratou ka pehea nga ahuatanga o nga utu whanui, o nga putea whanui hoki ma nga tauira.

Processing applications for dog registration. Dealing with dangerous dogs and requiring owners to ensure dogs do not cause a nuisance, injure, distress or damage

This research report provides information about research programmes and other scientific and technological activities funded by the Foundation during 1999-2000

Rules for the Creator Element

C.2.1. Name


C.2.2. Definition

The name of the organisation or person primarily responsible for the content of the resource, or the provision of the service.

C.2.3. Purpose

The Creator element allows searchers to find resources based on the creator of those resources. For example, it allows a searcher to discover all resources or services created by the Ministry of Education, or all books written by Maurice Gee.

C.2.4. Obligation


C.2.5. Element refinements


C.2.6. Encoding Schemes

• New Zealand Government Online Directory Service (when available)

• The AGLS agent encoding scheme

C.2.7. Default Value


C.2.8. Scope and Interpretation

For resources created by government, this element value contains the name of the agency responsible for creating the resource or the service.

If the creator is an individual person – like the author of a book – put the surname first, followed by a comma then the first name with no spaces. For example, Smith,Mary. If unsure, then enter the personal name as it appears on the resource.

Note that it will not be usual to have an individual person or another organisation as creators of a service or resource provided by an agency. The agency mostly responsible for that service or resource gets the Creator ‘credit’. The others would be contributors.

This element always refers to the primary creator. Where an agency simply distributes an item or resource as a publisher, but is not responsible for the content, it cannot be the creator.

Where there are joint authors, repeat the Creator element and put one person’s name in each element.

C.2.9. How to Use this Element When Describing a Service

When describing a service, the Creator will always be the name of the agency providing the service.

C.2.10.The role of Creator in the Portal

This element is displayed on the results page. It also allows services to be listed by agency.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.


Department of Inland Revenue

Department of Work and Income

Roberts, John

Rules for the Mandate Element

S.1.1. Name


S.1.2. Definition

A specific legal instrument which requires the resource to be created or provided. A legal instrument can be an Act, Regulations, other secondary legislation such as Rules, or rulings or binding determinations by statutory authorities (such as Court cases).

S.1.3. Purpose

This element refers to any legal instrument which requires the resource to be created or provided for public access. It describes the legal authority an agency has to provide a service, or information, or other resource.

S.1.4. Obligation


S.1.5. Element refinements

act – the specific Act which requires the resource to be created or provided

regulations – the specific regulations which requires the resource to be created or provided

rules – the specific rule or bylaw which requires the resources to be created or provided

courtCase – reference to the actual court case which requires the resource to be created or provided

S.1.6. Encoding schemes

None – but please use generally accepted legal notation.

S.1.7. Default value


S.1.8. Scope and interpretation

The Mandate element is useful to show the legal authority or specific legal mandate which requires the resource to be created or provided to the public.

It is a useful access point for searchers wanting information about specific legal instruments or cases.

The content of this element will usually be a reference to a specific Act, Regulation, Rule or Case. It could also be a URI pointing to an on-line version of the legal instrument in question.

S.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

Most government services have some kind of legal authority providing the framework for their setup and delivery. This element is very useful to searchers wanting to know more about the background to a service, so its use is recommended.

S.1.10. The role of Mandate in the Portal

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

S.1.11. Examples

(act) Student Loan Scheme Act 1992

(act) Official Information Act 1982 [1982 No 156]

(regulation) Health (Bursaries) Regulations 1965 [SR 1965/141]

(courtCase) Radio NZ v R [1994] 1 NZLR 48

Rules for the Relation Element

J.1.1. Name


J.1.2. Definition

Identification of other resources or services that are related to this current resource, and a description of the type of relationship.

J.1.3. Purpose

The relation element should be used where there are significant related resources which the searcher could also find useful.

J.1.4. Obligation


J.1.5. Element refinements

The Portal will use the Relation element to link the documents which support a service – for example, instructions and forms.

Similarly, it will use this element to cluster services provided by a particular agency.

The best general approach is to use the name of the service concerned as the value of the Relation element. The service name should be chosen from the controlled list of those services (or agencies) described in NZGLS itself.

The following table shows how various types of relationships would work under this approach.

If this element is used, the type of relationship must be specified by choosing a value from one side of any of the pairs in the following list:


One resource is a physical or logical part of another. Used to describe the relationship between a service and relevant documents (e.g. web pages and forms)


One resource is an historical state or edition of another resource by the same creator.


One resource has been derived from another by a reproduction or reformatting technique which is not fundamentally an interpretation but intended to be a representation.


One resource cites, acknowledges, disputes or otherwise refers to another resource.


One resource is a performance, production, derivation, translation, adaptation or interpretation of another resource.


One resource requires another resource for its functioning, delivery, or content and cannot be used without the related resource being present. For services, includes pre-requisite information, service or activity necessary for accessing the service.


One resource supplants, displaces, or supercedes another resource.

J.1.6. Encoding schemes


URI – Uniform Resource Identifier

ISBN – International Standard Book Number

ISSN – International Standard Serial Number

J.1.7. Default value


J.1.8. Scope and interpretation

Use this element to describe significant relationships from the searcher’s point of view – not all relationships.

If the Relation element is used, then an element refinement must also be used to express the type of relationship. Note that each of the seven relationship types is two sided, but the chosen value must be one side of a pair only – otherwise it won’t make sense.

When the other related resource has been described, give its full proper name or use a formal identifier.

It is a good idea to use this element when the information about another resource is useful for discovering or understanding the current resource. It is also a good way to link resources which contain similar or related information.

J.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

The Relation element can be used to identify information necessary for using a service. It can also be used to link to another service which is related to the current service, and supports linking or integration of a number of services.

This element will be of most use where the relationship between services is not obvious, and will not be identified by the search tool. Functionally related and subject-related services should be picked up by search tools.

J.1.10. The role of Relation in the Portal

The Portal uses this element to relate documents to services, through the isPartOf element refinement. If you do not establish this relationship, then documents will not be discoverable in a service-based search. For example, the document whose title is ‘Student Loan Application Form’ will appear in the Portal as part of the ‘Student Loan Scheme’ service only if the document has the Relation element identifying that the document isPartOf ‘Student Loan Scheme’.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

J.1.11. Examples

references Ministry of Education strategic plan [URI] http://www.minedu.govt.nz/web/document/document_page.cfm?id=3522

references Ministry of Education annual report [URI] http://www.minedu.govt.nz/web/document/document_page.cfm?id=5188

references Ministry of Education departmental forecast report [URI] http://www.minedu.govt.nz/web/document/document_page.cfm?id=4756

isBasisFor [URI] http://www.winz.govt.nz/student/maori_alt.html

isPartOf [URI] http://student.winz.govt.nz/apply.html

(requires) Please note that you will be asked for your IRD number, bank account number, Student ID and study details. You may wish to read through the form to make sure you have the appropriate information at hand before you start filling in the form

hasPart [URI] http://www.winz.govt.nz/student/maori_alt.html

hasPart [URI] http://www.winz.govt.nz/student/index.html

hasPart Student Services on 0800 88 99 00

Rules for the Coverage Element

K.1.1. Name


K.1.2. Definition

Coverage describes the extent or scope of the content of the resource:

• the spatial location (a place name or geographic co-ordinates)

• temporal period (a period label, a date, or a date range), or

• the jurisdiction (such as a named administrative region where the content applies).

K.1.3. Purpose

The Coverage element allows a search to be restricted to resources about a certain place or time. This is not intended to be primary search point. It allows a search to be refined within resources that contain temporal, spatial, legislative, jurisdictional or demographic data.

The Coverage element can be specified as an additional element within the primary search criteria.

K.1.4. Obligation

Recommended when describing a service, otherwise optional.

K.1.5. Element refinements

jurisdiction – the jurisdiction affected by the content of the resource – a legal concept – use the provided lists (see K.3), but these are examples only

spatial – spatial coverage or locations or areas covered in the content of a resource – use the provided lists (see K.4), but these are examples only:

• geographicDescription – a proper name – from LINZ database, or list in this section

• geographicBox – use the DCMI Box Encoding Scheme at: http//dublincare.org.documents/2000/07/28/dcmi-box/

• geographicElements – defined polygons

temporal – temporal coverage, or the time periods covered in the content of the resource.

K.1.6. Encoding schemes

Examples only:

• The New Zealand Geographic Place Names Database (LINZ) – recommended

• ISO 8601 – standard for dating and coding

• GED98, MED98, and TA01 – Statistics New Zealand classifications for general electoral districts, Maori electoral districts, and territorial authorities as listed in this section. Electoral Districts and their authoritative codes are defined by the New Zealand Representation Commission and are published in their report. Ref: Report of the Representation Commission 1998 (ISBN: 0-478-20139-7).

• LCSH – Library of Congress Subject Headings

• TGN – Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

• NZMS 260 – a map series

• NZMS 262 – a map series

• DCMI period

K.1.7. Default value

All of New Zealand

K.1.8. Scope and interpretation

Further refinements to this element will follow.

If an agency uses its own standard scheme for either spatial or temporal coverage, the scheme name should be included in the Coverage element.

Note that Coverage always relates to the content of the resource, not to the users or the Availability of the resource.

The refinement “jurisdiction” refers to the territory over which a particular government or government agency exercises its authority. Where the content of the resource has a jurisdiction, it is recommended that the jurisdiction covered by the resource be included in this element.

The refinement “spatial” refers to locations or areas that are covered by or discussed in the content of the resource. These are usually standard place names of a location. For services, this describes the geographical area covered by the service – as opposed to the legal jurisdiction. The points at which the services are delivered would come under the Availability element, not the Coverage element.

The refinement “temporal” refers to time periods that are covered by or discussed in the content of resource – such as the middle ages. This is usually stated in a standard period name for the time, or using a date or a date range. The rules on dates and date ranges are attached in this section.

If you are attempting to describe the group you expect to use the resource, use the Audience element rather than Coverage.

K.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

Coverage relates to the content of the resource.

For example, for something like a fishing licence, you could use the Coverage element as follows:

• Use the spatial refinement to describe the area for which the fishing licence is valid

• Use the temporal refinement to show the date range of the time the licence was valid for

• Use the jurisdiction refinementto show the name of the authority regulating the licence and its jurisdiction

The Audience element would be used to show who should use the resource, but the Availability element would be used for the points at which the service is delivered – the physical or virtual addresses where someone can get a licence.

K.1.10.The role of Coverage in the Portal

The Portal uses the Jurisdiction refinement to enable the user to see resources relevant only to their (or another) location. This is especially advantageous to the user where equivalent resources are available for different regions.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.


(jurisdiction) New Zealand

(temporal) [ISO 8601] 2000-07-01/2001-06-30

(spatial) Wellington, New Zealand

Rules for the Type Element

N.1.1. Name


N.1.2. Definition

The category or genre of the resource or service

N.1.3. Purpose

This element allows the user to locate different categories of resources (such as types of documents or services), or for results to be displayed in useful groups.

The element allows a search to be restricted to resources of a certain kind. For example, “find all images of the Prime Minister”.

N.1.4. Obligation

Mandatory, with the refinement category=”Type.category”

N.1.5. Element refinements

Category is mandatory and is one of two refinements used for Type. There are only three values:

• Service – used when describing a service directly, not a document about a service

• Document – for all resources which are not services or agencies, even if they are not traditional “documents” – for example, a sculpture

• Agency – used to describe an organisation

The second refinement is aggregation level, which has two possible values:

• item – for a single resource

• collection – for a logical grouping of resources

Item is the default.

N.1.6. Encoding schemes

Where the category is document, use the list in this section.

N.1.7. Default value

The default for the category refinement is “document”.

The default for the aggregation level refinement is “item”.

N.1.8. Scope and interpretation

The Type element must be used to distinguish between the different major categories of document, agency and service.

It can be used to specify the nature of the resource being described – what you would hold in your hand if you could pick it up.

N.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

Use the category refinement to indicate that the resource is a service.

N.1.10. The role of Type in the Portal

The category refinement

The Portal uses Type.category to distinguish between services, agencies, and documents, because these resources are displayed differently on the Portal. For example, agencies are displayed in A-Z listings, services are displayed by topic, agency or alphabetically, while documents are displayed in groups according to type.

Type as used by the Portal

A unique and powerful feature of the Portal is that it groups search results into key document types that are meaningful to the user. All other types of document are grouped into the category ‘other’. In order to ensure that a key document is given the correct prominence in the Portal, you must ensure that you complete the Type element with the appropriate term. If you do not do this, your document will be grouped into the ‘other’ category.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

N.1.11. Rule

Where the category is document, then repeat the Type element to describe the content using the list provided in this section.

N.1.12. Examples

a) For a manual: The category would be document, the content of the repeated Type element would be text/manual.

b) For a map: The category would be document, and the content of the repeated Type element would be image/map.

N.2. Controlled Vocabulary for Document Resources
This list is based on DCMI and AGLS encoding schemes.

N.2.1. Text


Format / genre Refinements (optional)

A text is a resource whose content is primarily words for reading. Note that facsimiles or images of texts are still of the genre text.

/advice, /agenda, / checklist, /contract, /correspondence, /form, /guide,/ homepage, /instructions, /journal, /manual, /minutes, /newsletter, /promotion, /report



advisory publications – often technical on particular topics



meeting, conference, training or other event agenda



a list of instructions relating to resources required to obtain a service or some other resource



a legal document recording an agreement between two or more parties



letter, e-mail or any other text-based communication



a template to be filled in by an applicant for a service or other resource



a document specifically produced to guide in the use of a particular resource or service



web site main page



any training materials in text form



publishing vehicle for formal papers – often scientific or technical, or relating to a trade or profession



a document like this one



minutes recording a meting or other event



a publication advising those interested in its main subject are of new events or resources



any advertising material



findings of any project or a record of recent operations in an organisation

N.2.2. Dataset


Format / genre Refinements (optional)

A dataset is information encoded in a defined structure (for example, lists, tables, and databases), intended to be useful for direct machine processing.


N.2.3. N.2.3 Event


Format / genre Refinements (optional)

An event is a non-persistent, time-based occurrence. Metadata for an event provides descriptive information that is the basis for discovery of the purpose, location, duration, responsible agents, and links to related events and resources. The resource of type event may not be retrievable if the described instantiation has expired or is yet to occur. Examples – exhibition, web-cast, conference, workshop, open-day, performance, battle, trial, wedding, tea-party, conflagration.

/conference, /exhibition, /webCast, /workshop

N.2.4. Image


Format / genre Refinements (optional)

An image is a primarily symbolic visual representation other than text. For example – images and photographs of physical objects, paintings, prints, drawings, other images and graphics, animations and moving pictures, film, diagrams, maps, musical notation. Note that image may include both electronic and physical representations.

/art, /hologram, /map, /plan, /movie, /photograph

Rules for the Identifier Element

P.1.1. Name


P.1.2. Definition

A unique identifier for a resource.

P.1.3. Purpose

If people search using an Identifier they will go straight to the resource. Search tools can use this element to find and combine different descriptions of the same resource. It’s used for electronic web pages, books and serials.

To use this element in a search, searchers have to know the Identifier of the resource they’re looking for.

P.1.4. Obligation

Conditional – mandatory for online resources, otherwise recommended where available

P.1.5. Element refinements


P.1.6. Encoding schemes


URI – Uniform Resource Identifier for online or electronic resources

ISBN – International Standard Book Number – for books

ISSN – International Standard Serial Number – for serials

P.1.7. Default value


P.1.8. Scope and interpretation

The identifier for most electronic resources will be a URI. It is important to note that the Identifier element will only work if the online resource being described has a stable or persistent URL/URI. Web systems that dynamically generate pages with a different URL/URI are not stable in terms of their metadata. In these cases, a higher level stable URI should be used for creating a metadata record.

Non-electronic resources can use ISBN, ISSN or other forms of identification.

Note that the Availability element can be used with the Identifier element to show how to obtain the resource.

P.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

Do not use this element where the Type category is service. You can use this element to identify documents relating to the service.

P.1.10. The role of Identifier in the Portal

Where this element is a URI, the Portal will present the document title as a link that a user may click on to access the resource. Where the element is not a URI, the Portal will display it on the results page.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

P.1.11. Examples

[URI] http://www.winz.govt.nz/student/index.html

[URI] http://www.minedu.govt.nz/web/document/document_page.cfm?id=3611&p=0

[ISBN] 0-908804-93-8

[ISSN] 1174-3549

Rules for the Function Element

L.1.1. Name


L.1.2. Definition

The business function of the agency to which this resource or service relates.

L.1.3. Purpose

This element is essential for searchers who want to find resources relating to a particular government business function or activity.

L.1.4. Obligation


L.1.5. Element refinements


L.1.6. Encoding schemes

The New Zealand Government “Functions of New Zealand” Thesaurus (FONZ) – mandatory

L.1.7. Default value


L.1.8. Scope and interpretation

Functions are the major activities organisations carry out to meet their missions and goals. However, agencies will need to use a subject term as well, to give searchers the complete picture. Functions in the Functions of New Zealand Thesaurus are hierarchically structured from general to more specific terms. Use the appropriate level of specificity. Use more than one where a resource relates to more than one function in a significant way.

Agencies might want to add their own Function descriptor values to supplement the Government Thesaurus. These will be considered as candidates for additional terms by the thesaurus maintenance group. In this situation, the agency would have to develop its own thesaurus, and the thesaurus name should be included in the value for the element. Again, the NZGLS Maintenance Agency would need to approve any agency thesauri, which would need to follow the same principles as the government-wide thesaurus.

L.1.9. How to use this element when describing a service

The Function term selected for the value in this element should reflect the actual services or functions of the organisation – not peripheral support services such as administration or human resources activities. This is not the same as the subject of a resource or service.

It is not intended that all the resources within an agency get assigned the same Function value, because this would defeat the purpose of the element for finding resources. However, in some small agencies with limited functions, it is possible that many resources will have the same function terms in their metadata records.

In a larger agency, it is expected that many resources might be associated with the same or with overlapping sets of Function values.

L.1.10. The role of the Function element in the Portal

The Portal uses this element, along with the Subject element, to allow the searcher to browse by topic.

Displayed on metadata full record screen.

L.1.11. Examples





Analysing information


Consulting on policy



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