StaffGuide: CONTENTdm Cookbook

Recipes for Metadata Entry for the University of Arkansas Libraries


Field Name: Contributor(s) is the default. However, custom-tailored field names (Collector, Transcriber, Photographer, etc.) may be appropriate for an individual collection. In such cases, prefer to use a term from a controlled vocabulary such as the list of MARC relator terms.
Requirement: Mandatory, if readily available
Repeatable: Yes (See below)
Search: Yes
Hide: No
Vocabulary: Yes. Use Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF) record, if available. In the absence of LCNAF record, using a local authority file is preferable to on-the-fly entry.
Dublin Core (DC) Mapping: dc.contributor
MARC Mapping: 720 $a (or if controlled vocabulary is used and person vs. organization can be mapped, 700 or 710)
CONTENTdm Data Type: Text
Dublin Core Definition: An entity responsible for making contributions to the resource. Examples of a Contributor include a person, an organization, or a service.
UA Definition: Persons or organizations making significant contributions to the item, but who are secondary to those name(s) included in Creator(s) field.

If the name is found in the LCNAF, enter exactly as found, including capitalization, spelling, spacing, punctuation, diacritics, etc. However, omit MARC subfield coding.

If the name is not listed in the LCNAF, consult the Authority Control appendix.

Names are normally given in the following format and should include as much information as is known: Last name, First name, Middle name/initial, and year of birth and/or death, separated by a hyphen. Include honorifics (e.g., Dr., Mr., Mrs.), titles, or nicknames only if no first name is known or if necessary to differentiate one person from another (e.g., Dr. Smith, Mrs. Frank Larson, Sis Johnson).

If there are multiple contributors, list them in order of appearance in the item or in order of their importance. Enter them in the same field, separating each entry with a semicolon space.

In some collections, it may be desirable to distinguish between contributors performing different functions, in which case separate Contributor(s) elements along with clarifying element names should be used for each (e.g., “Collector,” “Transcriber,” etc.).

Note that for some resources, no entity or person(s) will have overall responsibility for creating the content of the item. In such cases, the Creator(s) element is not used, and the names of secondary participants will all be entered in a Contributor(s) field.

Another possibility is that one or more persons may have primary responsibility for the resource and will be entered in the Creator(s) field, while many more individuals make secondary contributions and should be entered as Contributor(s). For instance, the group Black Americans for Democracy has overall responsibility for its newspaper, the BAD Times, while various “writers” and “staff members” are responsible for the content of individual issues; the former is a creator, and the latter are contributors.

In the case of photographs, the individual photographer, if known, should be considered the creator, while the studio should always be given in the Contributor(s) and/or Description fields.

If the contributor is unknown, leave field blank, i.e., do not enter “Unknown.”

If necessary, explain the relationship of the contributor to the item in the Description field, rather than using a parenthetical term in the Contributor(s) field. Also use the Description field to include an abbreviation for the name if considered useful for access (e.g., include CIA when “United States. Central Intelligence Agency” is used in the Contributor(s) field).


Merlin, Mitchell P.

Parler, Mary Celestia

Gant, Dinah G.; Harris, Everette Lynn; Neal, Elsie; Talley, Jere; Thompson, William Lynn

Graybill Photographic Studio

University of Arkansas (Fayetteville campus). Agricultural Extension Service

Revision Date: 9/26/19