Data Catalog Vocabulary/AccessURLRedesign

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Here we are working on a proposal to modify the way dcat:accessURL works, and what to do about the subclasses of dcat:Distribution (dcat:Download, dcat:Feed, etc.). This is intended to resolve ISSUE-8 and ISSUE-9, and specifically the issues summarized nicely by Phil here.

DCAT Example page is updated to reflect the proposal

Summary of the changes suggested:

  1. Remove the subclasses of dcat:Distribution
  2. Add a subproperty of dcat:accessURL named dcat:downloadURL. The new property provides a direct download link of the distribution
  3. Add a new property to the dcat:Dataset class named dcat:landingPage. This property links a dataset to some web page where the dataset can be gained.

the figure below outlines the changes proposed


Here is the description of the new/changed properties


Could be any kind of URL that gives access to a distribution of the dataset. E.g. landing page, download, feed URL, SPARQL endpoint. Use when your catalog doesn't have information on which it is or when it is definitely not a download.


This is a file in a given format. E.g. CSV file or RDF file. The format is described by the distribution's dc:format and/or dcat:mediaType


A Web page that can be navigated to in a Web browser to gain access to the dataset, its distributions and/or additional information.

Usage Note

If you have a landing page, and the distribution(s) are accessible only through that page (i.e. you don't have or know direct download URLs), then you should duplicate the landing page link as accessURL on the distributions. (see example)

To Do

  • Once the proposal is completely written up and feedback is being solicited, we should ping Ed Summers, as he originally raised these issues. (There was an action on George to ping Ed, which I believe was never done.)