How to relate a digital library to a physical one?


I would need to pick your brains here, as you might have encountered the same situation to solve: we would like to establish a connection between our digital repository and a real library, that stores many of the documents we have in digital form.

At the moment, the idea is to add to every Item page a link to the corresponding page of the real library’s catalogue, and I was wondering what would it be the best way to proceed: using an existing DC field (like Source, f.i.)? Or maybe add an element and then included it in every single Item Metadata Type? Or even add an extra field to the DC list, so that is available for every single Item, no matter what type it is?

Restrictions are that not all Items have a corresponding one in the library, and that some Items have arrived to the digital repository from different sources, so using the Source field could mess up things a bit.

Please let me know if you have any idea.


Hello Daniele,
I think I would use an existing DC field. Source o Relation, prefixing the code you use to reference the physical item. The prefix would point to the library or place where the physical items are located.

If you install the plugin Dublin Core Extended, you can use “isFormatOf”.

Term Name: isFormatOf
More details
Label Is Format Of
Definition A pre-existing related resource that is substantially the same as the described resource, but in another format.
Comment This property is intended to be used with non-literal values. This property is an inverse property of Has Format.
Type of Term Property
Subproperty of * Relation (

Hello, @silvia. Thanks for your suggestions.

About the first one, I suppose it could be an option; I would need to intercept (on Public side) the field, look for the prefix and do something with the value (turn it into a proper link, for instance). My hesitation comes from not having a specific field for it, thus possibly creating some confusion in contributors.

As for the second one, do you reckon it would be worth installing the whole Dublic Core set in order to use just one field? I would probably need to hide all other fields, at least, again not to ingenerate confusion in contributors. Besides, it is actually formally correct to use that field (isFormatOf) to point to an external resource?

Hello @DanieleB, I was looking a little more, I would use Source, with the prefix. I think if the prefix is clear enough it shouldn’t be confusing. In any case, it is difficult to express an opinion without knowing the specific case…

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