In order to promote the widespread interoperability of data, the W3C offers hosting for RDF vocabularies useful for creating reusable data. This document describes a policy for robust but extensible management of W3C namespaces for such vocabularies.

1. Overview

Note: Draft

This document is a draft and has not been formally approved.

Vocabulary creation and management takes place through existing W3C activities. Some W3C specifications and initiatives are developed over an extended period of time, with the participation of multiple groups. When these initiatives yield vocabulary terms which need a namespace, it is easier for developers if related terms are grouped together under the same namespace. This policy enables groups to create new namespaces as well as add new terms to an existing namespace, even if a vocabulary is developed in multiple stages, and described by multiple specifications.

Exceptions to this policy MAY be authorized by the Director.

2. New Namespaces

For creating new namespaces, please refer to the existing [NSURI] policy.

3. Existing Namespaces

3.1 Adding terms

Terms may be added to an existing namespace by Community Groups and by Working Groups, and MAY be part of Recommendation Track or non-Recommendation Track work (eg. a WG Note).

To add a term to an existing namespace, the group proposing the term should contact vocab-services@w3.org, with:

Requests will typically be responded to within 2 business days.

Terms MUST be clearly described, and if associated with a Working, Interest or Community Group specification, MUST link to that specification and note the status of the specification. In particular, if one namespace document contains terms described in multiple specifications, the relationships between terms and their requisite specifications MUST be clear in the namespace document. Terms which are not associated with a specification MUST indicate which group is responsible for this term and descriptions of terms MUST indicate (or link to a way to determine) the stability of the term.

Terms which are part of a specification undergoing the Recommendation process may reasonably expect to be stable subject to the continuation of the Working Group. Nevertheless, such a term may be removed or changed according to the status of the Working Group work. Terms MAY be removed from the namespace if the corresponding specification does not advance to Recommendation status.

A term MUST be considered stable or frozen when the corresponding specification is a Recommendation. This MUST be clearly indicated as part of the description of the term in the namespace document.

3.2 Modification and removal of terms

Existing definitions for terms referenced by Recommendations MUST NOT be modified.

Terms referenced by Recommendations MUST NOT be removed from an existing namespace.

Other terms SHOULD NOT be modified or removed by anyone other than the Working Group, Interest Group or Community Group which originally proposed them, or a group which is a formal continuation of the group which originally proposed them, or without explicit (public, linkable) approval by the group which originally proposed them or a continuation thereof.

Other terms MAY be marked as deprecated but this MUST include a link to a WG resolution and rationale.

A. Acknowledgements

Thanks to Sarven Capadisli, Sandro Hawke and Ivan Herman for input into and feedback on the first draft of this policy.