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Metadata file

Table of Contents

  1. Example
  2. Column heading / key rules
  3. Required fields
    1. pid
    2. label
  4. Fields to avoid
  5. Troubleshooting

*Warning! We highly discourage using Microsoft Excel for working with your metadata! It regularly causes encoding errors. Google Sheets is a good alternative for this work.


Wax can work with CSV, JSON, and YAML files, though CSVs are recommended. Below is the CSV spreadsheet that powers the qatar collection in the Wax demo site.

pid artist location label _date object_type current_location source order thumbnail full manifest
obj1 Al-Hajj Hafiz Muhammad Nuri Turkey The Dala'il al-Khayrat of al-Juzuli 1801 manuscript The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Turkey,_1801_-_The_Dala%27il_al-Khayrat_of_al-Juzuli_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 00 /img/derivatives/simple/obj1/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj1/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj1/manifest.json
obj2 Unknown Egypt Sulwan Al-Muta'a 14th century manuscript The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Egypt_or_Syria,_14th_Century_-_Sulwan_Al-Muta%27a_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 01 /img/derivatives/simple/obj2/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj2/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj2/manifest.json
obj3 Unknown Egypt Map of the World 15th century map The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Egypt,_15th_Century_-_Map_of_World_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 02 /img/derivatives/simple/obj3/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj3/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj3/manifest.json
obj4 Unknown Iran Faridun crosses the River Dijla, fol. 33v 1525 - 1535 manuscript The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran_-_Page_from_the_Shahnama_of_Shah_Tahmasp_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 03 /img/derivatives/simple/obj4/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj4/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj4/manifest.json
obj5 Unknown Iran Panel from Iran 1600 - 1625 panel The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran_-_Panel_from_Iran_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 04 /img/derivatives/simple/obj5/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj5/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj5/manifest.json
obj6 Unknown Iran Diwan of Jami Manuscript 16th century manuscript The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran,_16th_Century_-_Diwan_of_Jami_Manuscript_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 05 /img/derivatives/simple/obj6/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj6/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj6/manifest.json
obj7 Unknown Iran Page from the Shahnama 1525 - 1535 manuscript The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran,_16th_Century_-_Page_from_the_Shahnama_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 06 /img/derivatives/simple/obj7/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj7/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj7/manifest.json
obj8 Unknown Iran Silk Tapestry Depicting the story of Leila and Majnun 1550 - 1650 panel The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran,_16th_or_16th_Century_-_Silk_Tapestry_Depicting_the_story_of_Leila_and_Majnun_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 07 /img/derivatives/simple/obj8/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj8/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj8/manifest.json
obj9 Mihr 'Ali Iran Portrait of Fath 'Ali Shah 1816 portrait The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran,_1816_-_Portrait_of_Fath_%27Ali_Shah_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 08 /img/derivatives/simple/obj9/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj9/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj9/manifest.json
obj10 Unknown Iran Portrait of Hasan 'Ali Mirza Shuja al-Saltana 1800 - 1850 portrait The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran,_early_19th_Century_-_Portrait_of_Hasan_%27Ali_Mirza_Shuja_al-Saltana_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 09 /img/derivatives/simple/obj10/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj10/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj10/manifest.json
obj11 Unknown Iran Portrait of Sheikh Ali Mirza 1800 - 1850 portrait The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar,_Iran,_early_19th_Century_-_Portrait_of_Sheikh_Ali_Mirza_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg 10 /img/derivatives/simple/obj11/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj11/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj11/manifest.json
obj12 Bahādur Fīrūz, ʻAbd Allāh Khān Middle East and North Africa Excerpt from 'The Book of Horses' (فَرَس نامه [رسالة في الخيول) Around 1628 - 1658 manuscript Qatar National Library 11 /img/derivatives/simple/obj12_00/thumbnail.jpg /img/derivatives/simple/obj12_00/full.jpg /img/derivatives/iiif/obj12/manifest.json

Column heading / key rules

CSV Spreadsheet column heading names (or JSON or YAML keys) should:

  • Avoid whitespace
  • Avoid special characters except underscores
  • Be lowercase

E.g., the heading Current Location, City should be replaced with current_location_city. You can change how this will display on your site later!

Required fields

Each record (i.e., spreadsheet row or JSON object) needs two fields:


  • This is the Persistent ID for your collection item.
  • It cannot have whitespace!
  • It must be unique: no two records can have the same pid!
  • It is highly encouraged to use the simplest pid values possible and follow “snake case”, where letters are lowercase and special characters are removed or replaced by underscores.
  • E.g. Object Ref #1 will break. You could simplify it to obj1 instead (like in the example spreadsheet above).


*TIP: keep your pid values as simple and arbitrary as possible and use label to keep track of what’s what instead!

Fields to avoid

Some fields are needed for the underlying software of Jekyll and Wax, and should not be used in your metadata file. You should not manually create these fields (unless you know what you’re doing!), and should avoid these keys in your metadata:

  • id
  • date (use _date instead)
  • thumbnail
  • full
  • manifest

Everything else should be fair game!


  • To normalize and validate your metadata records, try Open Refine. You can facet fields and make sure there aren’t hidden spaces or sneaky typos in your values.

  • When you are ready to export your metadata file, save it as your collection name in its simplest form, for example documents.csv, items.json, frick.yml. This will make your job easier later.

  • If you are exporting from a graphical program (e.g., Google Sheets), make sure you export using UTF-8!