After the inevitable period of [northern hemisphere] summer inactivity when it seems at least 50% of the participants of these discussions are focussed on vacations, its time to review where we are.
Following the release of Schema.org v3.3 timing is right to submit a proposal for archives to hopefully find its way into the next release.
Both proposals share the properties and description of an Archive (Institution with archival holdings. An Archive, or Archives, is an organization which keeps and preserves archival material and potentially makes it accessible to the public.) . They differ at the level of identify things and collections of things within an archive:
In the initial proposal I suggested two specific types (ArchiveCollection & ArchiveItem) to cater for these conceptually different cases.
In the alternative proposal Owen suggested a single ArchiveComponent type to be used in conjunction with other existing Schema.org types, such as Collection, CreativeWork, etc., to achieve the same ends.
Much discussion took place on the mailing list around these proposals. It was clear from that, that there are circumstances where it is not clear from current data in an archive as to if an item is an individual item, or a collection of items, or a collection of one item. In such situations it would be difficult to decide which of the two types (in my initial proposal) to apply. Whereas using the alternative proposal no such choice is necessary.
Both proposals make use of Schema.org’s multi-type entity capabilities (the ability to define an entity (Thing) to be of more than one type). However it is fundamental to the alternative proposal. This feature may need some explanation and clarification in supporting documentation and examples, but should not prevent the proposal going forward.
I am looking for a consensus, or lack of objections, to move forward and propose the alternative proposal to the Schema.org community in the next couple of weeks
A parallel and connected proposal is for the introduction of a materialExtent property, which has relevance for CreativeWork in general, and associated collectionSize property for the Collection type.
I suggest this should be submitted at the same time.