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RE: DCAT: Describing APIs

From: <vasily.bunakov@stfc.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2013 14:44:07 +0000
To: <olyerickson@gmail.com>, <stuart.harrison@theodi.org>
CC: <public-gld-comments@w3.org>, <tech@theodi.org>
Message-ID: <2593C73BF2969942A2CA1F7C437688FB52E05AA2@EXCHMBX03.fed.cclrc.ac.uk>
Having just "API Home" referenced is OK for humans but not for machine consumption. The same for data re-use licence: having a reference to the text of licence does not make much sense if you have machine agents in mind. In http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-gld-comments/2013Jan/0002.html there was a suggestion to set up an "Interface" entity in DCAT that would incorporate both technical (API) and legal (licence) aspects of data access in a structured form. Then the machine agents could realize what they can do (and what they are allowed to) about the data. APIs and licences are typically common for the entire data catalogue (or there are just a few APIs and licences) so it might be worth having a data access manifested on a data catalogue level. 

With kind regards,
Vasily Bunakov
STFC Scientific Computing

-----Original Message-----
From: John Erickson [mailto:olyerickson@gmail.com] 
Sent: 04 April 2013 14:57
To: Stuart Harrison
Cc: public-gld-comments@w3.org; tech@theodi.org
Subject: Re: DCAT: Describing APIs

If I understand Stuart's point, APIs --- let's consider only those for accessing data --- "often" are listed as if they are downloadable datasets in dataset catalogs. A couple things:

* DCAT is about datasets and catalogs of datasets. There are no plans to extend DCAT to cover "catalogs of datasets and other stuff" (ie arbitrary APIs)
* If an API is used to access a dataset, the proper way to use DCAT is to describe that dataset and list the API as the means for accessing the data
* The means for providing a detailed description of the API is beyond the scope of DCAT, but we should consider an optional property or properties for linking to some resolvable description, possibly including format, protocol and "API Home" (see for example http://bit.ly/16yN0DL )
* Nothing in the current DCAT prevents it from being extended as needed. The question is, is this case sufficiently common to warrant changing this last call draft. Please provide some real use cases from the wild to make the point...


On Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 2:16 AM, Stuart Harrison <stuart.harrison@theodi.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> I've just had a look at DCAT, and, as someone who's tried to maintain 
> and submit to government data catalogues in the past, it looks really 
> comprehensive.
> The only thing I can see which may be missing is how we describe APIs 
> - these often end up in data catalogues (rightly or wrongly), and, as 
> they're being constantly updated, a lot of things like dct:updated 
> would be meaningless. Are there any plans to add a description for an 
> API, or any other constantly updating dataset?
> Cheers
> --
> Stuart Harrison
> Web Developer
> Open Data Institute
> Sent with Sparrow

John S. Erickson, Ph.D.
Director, Web Science Operations
Tetherless World Constellation (RPI)
<http://tw.rpi.edu> <olyerickson@gmail.com> Twitter & Skype: olyerickson

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