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Comments on DCAT: vocabulary scope

From: Andrea Perego <andrea.perego@jrc.ec.europa.eu>
Date: Sun, 07 Apr 2013 22:34:08 +0200
Message-id: <CAHzfgWBiTzC8fsT_ePqYP4Oe9T4bVQbdDV2eZ3cj3icYQAj8vg@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-gld-comments@w3.org
I would like to ask the GLD WG a clarification concerning the actual scope
of DCAT.

Basically, the question concerns whether DCAT can be used to describe
1. catalogues of a specific type of information resources, namely,
datasets. or
2. catalogues of any type of information resources (e.g., datasets,
documents, data models, vocabularies, thesauri, code lists, audio and video
files, software, services).

I have always thought that the right option was the former one, and this
seems to be confirmed by the definitions and terminology used in the DCAT
spec. However, I had some concerns when I realised that ADMS has been
recently defined as a DCAT profile for semantic assets [1], Based on this,
I wondered whether the DCAT notion of "dataset" was broader than the
"common" one.

My question is also about how DCAT can be actually used in existing
catalogues, e.g., those providing access to government resources. Although
the majority of them are just about datasets, several examples are
available of gov portals of other types of information resources (e.g.,
software re-usable by Public Administrations) or even of heterogeneous
types of information resources. An example of the latter is the INSPIRE
Geoportal [2], which provides a single access point for geospatial
datasets, dataset series, and services of EU Member States.

In both the cases above, if DCAT is just about datasets, it could not be
used to describe the catalogue, the totality of the resources it gives
access to, and the corresponding distributions. Actually, in INSPIRE, DCAT
could be used to describe datasets, maybe also dataset series, and their
distributions, but neither services nor their distributions, and not the
catalogue itself.

As a consequence, specific vocabularies should be defined to denote
catalogues and distributions of resource types different from datasets. And
this would not help interoperability.

So, I wonder whether the GLD WG would consider making dcat:Catalog and
dcat:Distribution more generic, namely, a catalog / distribution of any
type of information resources, and not just of datasets.

If this is already foreseen, i.e., if DCAT is for catalogues of any type of
information resources, I would suggest making this explicit in the spec. It
would be also useful to have an additional class, denoting information
resources available in a catalogue, and to define dcat:Dataset a subclass
of it.

Thanks in advance.



Andrea Perego, Ph.D.
European Commission DG JRC
Institute for Environment & Sustainability
Unit H06 - Digital Earth & Reference Data
Via E. Fermi, 2749 - TP 262
21027 Ispra VA, Italy

DE+RD Unit: http://ies.jrc.ec.europa.eu/DE

The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may
not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official
position of the European Commission.
Received on Sunday, 7 April 2013 20:34:53 UTC

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