Content Type

Requirement Level: Required

Core Element: Yes

Describes: Original Source


Describes the nature and general type of the original content source (as opposed to the form of the resource); provides important context for users to inform how they can interact with the content. See the Content Genre element for providing more granular sub-types of content.


Digitized image

still image


software, multimedia

Digitized audio interview

sound recording-nonmusical

Journal Article


Digitized map


Mappings and Encoding

Dublin Core: type

See recommended mappings for additional standards.

How Do I Fill This In?



This element may be repeated, but it is strongly encouraged to designate a primary Content Type. See the Additional detail section below for more information.

Recommended Data Entry Type:

Controlled vocabulary 

Recommended/default values:

For best interoperability across Emory systems, use the MODS Type of Resource terms listed below.

Alternate vocabularies for Type (such as Dublin Core’s list of Types) may be used, but you must provide a mapping to the following terms if your content will be ingested into an Emory Libraries’ preservation repository or discovery system.

Type of Resource (MODS) Use for:
text Resources that are primarily textual in nature
cartographic Maps, atlases, globes, digital maps, other cartographic items
notated music Graphic, non-realized representations of musical works
sound recording–musical Musical sound recording
sound recording–nonmusical Sound which is nonmusical in nature
sound recording Mixture of musical and nonmusical sound recordings; use when distinction between musical and nonmusical can’t be made
still image Two-dimensional images, slides, transparencies
moving image Motion pictures, video recordings, television programs, digital video, animated computer graphics—but not computer games or multimedia
software, multimedia Software, numeric data, computer-oriented multimedia, and online systems and services
mixed material Archival fonds and manuscript collections of mixed forms of materials, such as text, photographs, and sound recordings
three dimensional object Man-made objects such as models, sculptures, clothing, toys, or naturally occurring objects such as specimens mounted for viewing

Punctuation/style notes:  

The MODS Type of Resource terms should be entered using their original lowercase, punctuation and spacing conventions (this will assist with XML validation in some systems).

Additional detail:

MODS provides an optional usage attribute that takes the value "primary"; this can be utilized when you have specified more than one Type value.

System Tips:

When planning metadata for ingest into an Emory preservation repository or discovery tool, you should designate a primary Content Type. This may be done by recording the primary content type first in the metadata record, or only mapping the first entry for OAI output. Note that some Emory systems may require/enforce a single Content Type selection only.


None of these terms quite describe my content adequately: I want to specify a more specific sub-type or form for my content. How should I do that?

The MODS Type of Resource values describe some types of content better than others (e.g. data sets , websites/web applications applications). To provider greater specificity and clarify the parent Content Type, it is recommended to also utilize the Content Genre element.

My web project contains multiple types of content. Which type value should I select?

In general, use the term software, multimedia when describing websites as a whole, or web pages containing multiple types of media. For single web pages that are primarily text, use text.

My system/authoring tool doesn’t offer this as a data entry option. How do I enter this information?

Some systems may already automate this value based on back-end functionality. In other cases, the Content Type may be implied (for example, in collections where all content is the same general Content Type), and you may simply need to coordinate a consistent mapping when moving metadata from one system to another. Consult with a metadata specialist for assistance in these scenarios.

My schema doesn’t have an equivalent element to store this information (TEI, EAD, FGDC, ISO 19115, others). Where should I put it?

If your schema/standard/system does not provide a dedicated element where you can record an entry for Content Type, consider adding this information to a description or title element so the information is at least searchable/discoverable by end users.

Links and Resources:

MODS to Dublin Core Type mapping

Recommended Primo Type Mappings for Emory Digital Collections (PDF)


Guideline last revised: 2015-05-11