In designing the METS schema, the participants in the METS initiative have
tried to balance the two goals of promoting the interoperability of digital library
resources while also supporting flexibility in local practice with respect to
creating digital library materials.

While these are both worthwhile goals, they are also to some degree
in conflict.  The great flexibility which the METS schema affords digital libraries
in creating digital library objects makes it very difficult to design software for
processing METS objects at any but the most rudimentary level.  It also
makes it difficult to create a METS document to exchange with another institution
with confidence that that institution will be able to make use of the METS
file they receive.

In order to try to address these problems, the METS Editorial Board, working
in concert with the Library of Congress Network Development & MARC Standards
Office, has developed a mechanism to allow institutions to define profiles stating how
they implement the METS standard locally, and a registration system to allow
these profiles to be publicly shared.  A profile provides a relatively concise statement
of your expectations regarding how a METS document prepared for use at your institution
should encode structural, administrative and descriptive metadata, how content files
to include with a METS document should be prepared, and what standard rules of
description and controlled vocabularies should
be employed.  By
publicly registering a profile, you will be able to let others who may submit METS
documents to you know your expectations with regards to how METS documents
should be created in order to be processed at your institution.  While we hope
that profiles will be registered and shared with others in the METS community,
registration of a profile is optional, and we believe that developing profiles for the
creation of METS documents at any institution will be a valuable documentary
step and assist institutions in insuring consistency in creation of METS documents
locally, even if the profiles are not registered.

Attached you will find a document (in Open Office and Microsoft Word formats)
describing the requirements for creating a METS profile and providing
instructions for registering those profiles with the Library of Congress.  You
will also find the XML Schema which defines the profile format.  Profiles
which are submitted for registration must conform to, and validate against, this

At this point, these documents are both drafts.  The METS Editorial Board would
like to invite all members of the METS community to review these drafts
and provide comments and suggestions for improvement back to the editorial board.
The editorial board would like to request that any feedback or comments on
these drafts be sent to the METS mailing list ([log in to unmask]) by
April 18, 2003.  Please note that the editorial board will not be accepting any
profiles for registration until after having reviewed comments submitted regarding
these drafts and having publicly released a final version of the Profile schema
and the profile instructions document.

Thanks for your help!  We look forward to your comments.

Jerome McDonough
Digital Library Development Team Leader
Elmer Bobst Library, New York University
70 Washington Square South, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10012
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(212) 998-2425