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Data Catalog Vocabulary

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The Data Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT) is an RDF Schema vocabulary for representing data catalogs such as these listed on datacatalogs.org. Thus, it is a vocabulary for metadata about structured data resources. It is currently being developed within the W3C Government Linked Data Working Group. It was previously incubated in the eGovernment Interest Group and is based on early work done at DERI.

Documents and Deliverables

Issue tracking



Goals and scope

On government data catalogs. Governments produce large amounts of valuable data as part of daily operations and decision-making. This data can be useful to many citizens and organizations, and it is ultimately them who paid for producing it. Governments increasingly recognize this, and start to make this data publicly available through one-stop portals called data catalogs, such as data.gov, data.gov.uk, statcentral.ie and many others.

Goals. Our goals are:

  • To propose a unified format for publishing the contents of such data catalogs, using DERI's dcat proposal as a starting point.
  • To provide support to initial implementors of the format.

Scope. This work item is narrowly defined:

  • The focus is on catalogs of government data, such as data.gov. Applicability of the format to other kinds of data catalogs, such as data on climate change or scientific data archives, is desirable but optional.
  • The focus is on data catalogs. Standard formats for representing the actual data inside the datasets is out of scope.
  • The focus is on existing data catalogs and how their contents can be expressed in a unified way.
  • An RDF vocabulary will be developed, although the group may explore its mapping to non-RDF syntaxes as well.

Design documents in the wiki

These pages may or may not be outdated.

Other resources