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Definition of 'a profile'

From: Phil Archer <phil@philarcher.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2018 10:06:49 +0100
To: "public-dxwg-wg@w3.org" <public-dxwg-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <62e4925f-0208-4fb1-9489-d9ed2b56ab9e@philarcher.org>
On last week's call I was asked to offer a definition of 'a profile.' I 
hope it's OK just to offer some text here as I'm a little out of touch 
with how this group uses GH and, ahem, I admit, I've not touched a GH 
client for a year.

=== Begins ===

1. Introduction

Builders of vocabularies and ontologies are encouraged to make their 
work as broadly applicable as possible so as to maximize future 
adoption. As a result, vocabularies and ontologies typically define a 
data model using minimal semantics. For example, DCAT defines the 
concept of a dataset as an abstract entity with distributions and data 
services as means of accessing that data. It is silent on whether a 
distribution should be in a particular serialization, or set of 
serializations; it is silent on how data services should be configured; 
while it states that the value of dcat:theme should be a SKOS concept, 
it does not specify a particular SKOS concept scheme, and so on. Other 
vocabularies such as Dublin Core (@@@ add more here?? @@@) are equally 
parsimonious in their prescriptions of how they should be used.

This is good practice: it means that data models and methods of working 
can applied in different circumstances than those in which the original 
definition work was carried out and in that sense promotes broad 

However, any individual system will be designed to meet a specific set 
of needs, that is, it will operate in a specific context. It is that 
context, and the individual choices made by the engineers working within 
it, that will determine how a vocabulary or set of vocabularies will be 
used. For example, a system ingesting data may require that a specific 
subset of properties from a range of vocabularies is used and that only 
terms from a defined code list are used as values for specified 
properties. In other words, where the 'base vocabulary' might say "the 
value of this property SHOULD be a value from a managed code list", the 
profile will say "the value of this property MUST be from *this* 
specific code list."

This discussion leads to the following definition of a profile, also 
known as an "application profile" or "metadata application profile:

A profile is a named set of constraints on one or more identified base 
specifications. Such constraints should ensure that software systems 
that implement the profile are directly interoperable.

=== Ends ===

Is that the kind of thing that's needed? I was tempted to talk about 
validation, i.e. that it should be possible to validate a given dataset 
against a given profile - but I'm not sure the WG agrees with that??



For tracker: Action-141

Phil Archer
+44 7887 767755
Skype: philarcher
Received on Monday, 9 July 2018 09:07:53 UTC

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