Metadata helps keep content organized and searchable, but users may not think to include it with their content. To prompt a user to include metadata each time they add a piece of content, you can create and apply a metadata template to folders or files in the Content Collection. A metadata template helps ensure that users input the information that keeps items organized and searchable in the Content Collection.

You can create custom metadata templates for any folder and its contents. Similarly, you can create attributes to use in different templates, making the process of building a template quicker. Once a template is made available to the folder, the template is also available to all the content items within that folder.

More on managing metadata attributes

Metadata Templates page

To find the Metadata Template page in the Content Collection, refer to the Tools menu. If you have access to this tool, you will see Metadata Templates listed in the menu.

Your Blackboard administrator determines who has access to create and manage metadata templates.

There are two tabs in the Metadata Templates page. The Metadata Templates tab is where you can create and manage templates. The Manage Attributes page lists the common attributes that you can use among multiple templates. For example, if you want to require an ISBN for all pieces of content that come from a textbook, you might want to create a reusable metadata attribute so you don't have to create this element each time you create a new template.

Create a metadata template

  1. In the Content Collection, select Metadata Templates in the Tools menu.
  2. On the Metadata Templates page, select Create Template.
  3. Type a Page header for the template.
  4. Type a name for the template in the Form Name field.
  5. Type a description in the Description field.
  6. Select Submit.

Form Design page

After the template has been added, the next step is to design the template's appearance.

  • Choose a design element from the Add drop-down list:
    • Instructions. This is an optional design element that you can use to provide instructions to users when they are presented with this template. You can provide instructions for the whole page or you can add instructions for individual steps.
    • Step Header. This is a design element that provides a graphical break in a template and can be used for logical grouping of data entry fields.
    • Field. Add an individual data field. Refer to the list of metadata template fields to learn about each type.
  • To reposition the design elements, you can drag and drop them to different parts of the page.
  • To view the template's design in progress, use the Preview function. The preview appears in a new window.
  • Use the Edit or Delete options in each element's menu to change or remove the elements.

Manage metadata templates

On the Metadata Templates page, you can edit settings for each of the existing templates. To access the options below, open the template's menu.

  • Preview - See what the template will look like to users.
  • Edit - Edit the template's Name and Description fields.
  • Form Design - Edit the template's fields, labels, and organization.
  • Availability - Choose which users can see this metadata template.
  • Copy - Duplicate this template.
  • Delete - Delete this template.

Make a template available

You can make metadata templates available to a select group of content management users. Content Collection items can be grouped in a specific folder and assigned to a specific course. This content can also be shared across a department or an entire institution.

  1. In the Content Collection, select Metadata Templates on the Tools menu.
  2. Select Availability in the template's menu.
  3. To make the template available throughout the system, choose Yes next to System Availability.
  4. To control the availability of the template at the directory level, choose All Folders or Selected Folders and All Subfolders.
    • Select Browse to choose the folders and subfolders.
  5. To display the metadata form on the Add Item and Add Folder pages, select the Display metadata form for content items check box. Select this option if you want to require users to input metadata when they upload or create an item in the applicable course areas.
  6. Select Submit.

Manage Attributes page

On the Manage Attributes page, you can create and edit attributes designed to be used in multiple templates. When you create an attribute, you can choose to make it available to other users when they create their metadata templates.

The metadata template properties act as metadata for the templates themselves. These properties allow users to access templates, assist in batch operations, and provide description data to the template builder.

Create an attribute

  1. In the Content Collection, select Metadata Templates on the Tools menu.
  2. Select the Manage Attributes tab.
  3. Select Create Attribute and select an attribute type. After you create an attribute, you cannot change the type.
  4. Type a name for the attribute. This name appears in the list on the Manage Attributes page.
  5. Type a description.
  6. Select the External check box to indicate that the values are derived from an external source.
  7. If you want to make this attribute available to other metadata template users, select Yes next to System Availability. To keep it private, select No.
  8. Select Submit to save.

Add an attribute to a metadata template

Now that you've created an attribute, you can use it in a metadata template. If you chose to make the attribute available throughout the system, others may also use the attribute in their templates.

  1. On the Manage Template page, select Form Design.
  2. Select Field in the Add menu.
  3. In the Add Field section, select Copy existing field.
  4. Select Browse to search for the attribute you created. You can browse the list of available attributes or use the search fields at the top of the page.
  5. After you choose the attribute, select Submit. You're brought to the Format Field page.
  6. Type a label for the field and choose a style (if applicable).
    • Drop-down produces a drop-down list of values for the user to make a single choice.
    • List Menu produces a static list of values that the user can choose.
    • Radio Buttons produces a series of buttons from which the user makes a single choice.
    • Text area produces a text field.
    • Text Editor produces a Text Editor where text can be typed and formatted.
  7. Next to Rule options, choose how the user interacts with this field:
    • Read/Write allows users of this metadata template to enter and edit the value of this field.
    • Read-Only does not permit users to enter data into this field.
    • Use the Required check box to make this field required.
  8. In Field Help Text, type the user assistance text that appears under this field.
  9. Select Submit to save the field.

Field types

Attribute/field type Description
String This field allows the user to type any text they would like up to the field limit.
  • Short - User can type up to 100 characters
  • Medium - User can type up to 255 characters
  • Long - User can type up to 1000 characters
Formatted text This field allows the user to type free-form text of any length and format it using the Content Editor.
Integer This field accepts whole numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) as input.
Float This field accepts numbers with decimal points as input.
Date This field is a date selector. The user chooses a day, month, and year to associate with the item.
Time This field is a time selector. The user chooses a time of day to associate with the item.
Date/Time This field is a date and time selector. The user chooses a time, day, month, and year to associate with the item.
Boolean This field presents the user with a check box.
Unlimited string This field allows the user to type free-form text of any length.
Selection attribute This field presents the user with multiple text options in a drop-down list, list menu, or radio buttons.

To add options, choose Selection Attribute in Create Attribute or Field Types. Name the attribute, choose its availability, and select Next. You're brought to an Add Options page. Choose Add Options to add items to the selection list.

If you have a long list of options, you can add multiple choices at once by using the Batch Add Options button. You can upload a plain text file or a CSV file using the following format: Label, Value, Availability (Yes / No). On the Batch Add Options page, browse for the file and choose the delimiter type. Select Submit to upload the options.

When you're finished, select OK on the bottom of the page.

If you're creating a new field in a template, you're brought back to the Format Field page to finish configuring the field.

If you're creating an attribute outside of a template, you're brought back to the Manage Attributes page, where you can search for the attribute you just created.