Metadata Schema

If you’ve been watching the Registry closely (and we know you have), you’ll have noticed that a few weeks ago we started supporting the registration of metadata schemas. It’s not finished and far from perfect, but the perfect can often be the enemy of the good and at the moment it’s, well, good enough for now.

What makes it tough to get schema registration right is that our approach to what we’re calling registration attempts to be cross-cultural — trying to create a bridge from the technologies supporting the Semantic Web to the somewhat more ‘traditional’ data transfer technologies like XML.

We’re also trying to ‘eat our own dog food’ and are using an internally registered Application Profile to define the properties we’re using to describe metadata schemas and ultimately Application Profiles. This AP helps drive the schema registration user interface and we hope at some point we’ll be able to use a registered AP to generate many different interfaces, both human and application. It’s arguably too ambitious, but baby steps…

Vocabulary Management
The Registry is really more Vocabulary Management Application than Registry at this point, since we’ve layered so many management services on top of the basic registry functions. It manages two types of vocabularies:

  • Value vocabularies — unordered lists of values (terms) that we express as skos concept schemes in RDF and a simple enumeration in XML Schema
  • Class/Property vocabularies — lists of classes, properties (or attributes depending on your mental model) that we currently express as rdf:properties and rdfs:classes

Much of our terminology (value vocabularies, metadata schema, application profile) stems from our work with the Dublin Core Community more than the Semantic Web Community and maybe we’ll refactor some of those names as we move forward. But we hope the semweb folks can translate and we hope that the DC folks won’t hold our ultimate departure from some of their terms against us.

In the meantime, feel free to play in the sandbox.

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