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Re: [dxwg] Improving profile guidance intro

From: kcoyle via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2018 06:42:22 +0000
To: public-dxwg-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <issue_comment.created-425337853-1538116927-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Here's an attempt at a new introduction. It uses most of what Phil had written, but adds a paragraph at the beginning. I'm not sure about the part that talks about "best practices" for ontologies - I agree with it but I'm not sure what we should say about it here. In any case, I've left his text intact.

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Communities create and use metadata standards to ensure interoperability for information exchange. Although they are using the same basic standard metadata schema it is very common for different metadata creators within the community to need some variation in the metadata they create to meet their local needs. To continue to support interoperability of their metadata with others, these community members need to express the specifics of their implementation of the metadata. Metadata profiles serve this purpose. Profiles enumerate vocabulary terms, cardinality and validation rules, and can also include descriptions of the rules used by creators to make decisions regarding their data elements.

Good metadata practice begins with the builders of vocabularies and ontologies. 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 [vocab-dcat-2] defines the concept of a dataset as an abstract entity with distributions and data services as means of accessing 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 [skos-reference] concept scheme, and so on. Other vocabularies such as Dublin Core Terms [DCTERMS] are equally parsimonious in their prescriptions of how they should be used. This means that data models and methods of working can be applied in different circumstances than those in which the original definition work was carried out and, in that sense, promotes broad interoperability.

However, since 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", a specialised profile will say "the value of this property MUST be from this specific code list".

This document is about how to formulate and communicate profiles. 

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Received on Friday, 28 September 2018 06:42:28 UTC

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