Metadata for media assets instruction


Instruction statement

This instruction is designed to help staff involved in web publishing to create and maintain good metadata for media assets used on the RMIT website.


This procedure does not apply to:

  • courseware, including scholarly work, student work and teaching and learning materials
  • websites that have no relationship to RMIT (for example, personal or private sites) design elements that serve a functional purpose only and that users will be unlikely to attempt to locate in search results (for example buttons and icons)

Instruction steps and actions

Media assets require detailed metadata to help users and search engines categorise content. Since search engines and visually impaired web users cannot see the contents of an image, video or piece of audio, text content that describes essential aspects must accompany all assets.

The Dublin Core schema provides guidance on metadata fields for video, image and audio assets. Apply these fields in every publishing channel including those external to the RMIT website and social media sites.

1. Build the title and description metadata

Refer to the Metadata Schema Instruction to understand the application of fixed metadata and how build free metadata for your media assets.

1.1 Add a meta title

The meta title gives a succinct, direct description of the media asset contents. Use the title to describe whether the video is an interview, a tour or demonstration. Describe the activity, location or subject of an image in the title.

1.2 Add a meta description

The meta description demonstrates the content and purpose of the media asset. It gives further detail on the content and helps add context. For example, a video description should describe the contents of the video. An image description may describe the event where the image was captured.

1.3 Add a call to action

Where appropriate, include a call to action in your description. If there is an existing call to action in the image or video, the description must match.

1.4 Be consistent

Both the title and description should:

  • match the landing page title and on-page description
  • work in multiple publishing channels. Consider the title and description as a social media element, in a dynamic content feed or on an external website

2. Add alternative (alt) tags

2.1 Describe visual content

Alt text is a brief description of the visual content of a media asset. It should have no formatting or icons. Ensure the alt text is relevant to the surrounding content, for example:

Instead of: Two people in suits shake hands

Use: RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor Wang Zuwen, at the signing ceremony in Melbourne.

2.2 Describe calls to action

If clicking the image initiates an action, that action must be described in the alt text. For example, ‘Download the full size image’.

2.3 Add blank alt text where a caption describes the content

If the Content Type Instruction suggests the image uses a caption, add blank alt text to the image. There is no need to repeat the caption in the alt text. However, add alt text if the caption does not describe the contents of the image.

3. Apply metadata schema

The RMIT metadata schema is based on the internationally recognised Dublin Core metadata terms. Metadata from this schema should be applied to all media assets.


Suggested Usage for RMIT



Use a title that is descriptive of the content rather than abstract. See 1.1) Add a meta title.

Dean - Diploma of Audio Visual Technology


List the organisation or individual. List full names avoiding acronyms and abbreviations.

University Communications,
College of Design and Social Context


The content topic of the resource. Use existing fixed metadata schema such as Interest and Audience. Use fixed metadata even if the subject field allows free metadata.

Can include individuals featured in the media asset if useful for search (i.e. significant individuals, researchers, students and alumni)

Could include:

  • scholarships
  • students
  • global
  • technology
  • design
  • alumni
  • nanotechnology
  • how things works
  • gold
  • cancer
  • carbon nanotube
  • carbon
  • Dr Kay Latham


The Description field is a potentially rich source of indexable terms. Use full sentences. Descriptions are often used to present information to users to assist in their selection of appropriate resources from a set of search results.

Include a call to action that links back to the main site – ideally a deep link to a course. This link will be most effective earlier in the description in YouTube (so it displays in the unexpanded view). See 1.2) Add a metadata description.

RMIT University academic Dr Kay Latham explains how nanotechnology works.
Watch other videos in this series
Study Science at RMIT

See more RMIT Gallery video:


When uploaded to a source outside the RMIT web publishing system use RMIT University as we are the publisher of all of our content.


An entity responsible for making contributions to the content of the resource. Eg. photographer, not RMIT individual.

Photographer John Smith of Image Action Photography


Typically, Date will be associated with the creation or availability of the resource. Best practice is YYYY-MM-DD.



The file type.



The physical or digital manifestation of the resource. Typically, Format may include the media-type or dimensions of the resource. Examples of dimensions include size and duration. Format may be used to determine the software, hardware or other equipment needed to display or operate the resource.

video, MP4, 500MB, JPEG


The same metadata words and phrases used in the Title and Description. Use the fixed and free metadata to gather identifiers.


Reference to a resource from which the present resource is derived. This includes music used or artworks included.

Features Comme Des Enfants (Le Matos Andy Carmichael) by Coeur De Pirate


En (for English) or refer for other languages


Identifies other resources associated with the media asset.

Associated videos


The extent or scope of the content of the resource. Coverage will typically include spatial location (a place name or geographic co-ordinates), temporal period (a period label, date, or date range) or jurisdiction (such as a named administrative entity).


124 La Trobe Street Melbourne


25 Dawson Street Brunswick


Cnr Plenty and McKimmies Rd Bundoora

Swanston Academic Building

geo:lat=-37.808190387548194 geo:lon=144.96299028396606

RMIT Gallery

344 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria


Ho Chi Minh

702 Nguyen Van Linh, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City


Handi Resco Building, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi


Ideally a URL pointing to a rights statement.

Link to

[Next: Supporting documents and information]