Find out more about the standards we use to present our data collections.

Open Data Plan

Our Open Data Publication Plan aligns with our vision to be one of the leading national libraries in Europe, by enabling greater re-use, adaptation, and scrutiny of public information.

Download the Open Data Publication Plan: National Library of Scotland Open Data Publication Plan (PDF)

Download the Open Data Register: National Library of Scotland Open Data Register (CSV)

Digitised collections

The Library uses METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard)/ALTO (Analysed Layout and Text Object) XML to present digitised material.


ALTO is a Library of Congress standard for storing layout information and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) text.

Visit the Library of Congress website for ALTO: Library of Congress Technical Metadata for Text Objects


METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) is a Library of Congress standard used to describe digital objects. This includes bibliographic, administrative and structural information about the digitised material, as well as a list of files.

Visit the Library of Congress website for METS: Library of Congress: Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard

Our METS implementation
Descriptive metadata (dmdSec)

This section contains bibliographical metadata and holdings metadata in MODS. We also use the MODS ‘notes’ field, at present, to record contextual information about the digitisation process for this item.

Visit the Library of Congress website for MODS: Library of Congress MODS

Administrative metadata (amdSec)

All amdSec sections are wrapped up in the Premis schema. These sections include the rights information and, where it is available, image capture and file creation.

Visit the Library of Congress website for Premis: Library of Congress Premis

File listing (fileSec)

In fileSec you will find a list of files used in the digital object. This includes a listing of preservation files, which are not made available.

Structural metadata (StructMap)

This section describes the structure of the digital object.

Plain text

All of our digitised transcription material is also available as plain text files, at item level.

Metadata collections


MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloguing) is a Library of Congress standard for the description of library collections. Our metadata collections are presented in MARCXML, a record structure which represents MARC descriptions in XML.

Visit the Library of Congress website for MARCXML: MARCXML: Library of Congress MAchine Readable Cataloguing

Dublin Core

We also present our metadata collections in Dublin Core XML. Dublin Core is a metadata schema used to describe library collections, as well as other forms of digital and physical resources.

Visit the Dublin Core website: Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

Organisational data

Organisational, or corporate, data about the National Library of Scotland is provided in CSV files.