Each item in a repository typically has a set of meta data associated with it, e.g. keywords, the digital format of the item, etc. Meta data becomes especially powerful when it is 'exposed' for harvesting by outside sources - making it possible, for example, to set up search services that index many different repositories simultaneously. The Open Archives Initiative has developed a set of meta-data standards to facilitate this. They have now also developing a simplified standard for static repositories which requires no more of repositories than that they make meta data available in publicly accessible xml files formatted in a particular way. For those needing to understand the more technical aspects of Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) there is a comprehensive tutorial.
UKOLN has developed a very easy to use online Dublin Core Metadata Editor, which automatically generates Dublin Core metadata for any URL. It can also be installed as a browser toolbar button, making it possible to generate Dublin Core metadata for any page one is currently viewing.