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This is an archived WebSchemas proposal LocalBusinessDepartment for schema.org. See Proposals listing for more. Note: active schema.org development is now based at github


This page discusses a proposal extending schema.org to introduce the notion that a 'LocalBusiness' may have different departments.

The motivation is to allow representation of the department name, phone numbers, and opening hours for each department within a local business branch (see the websites of walmart, and usps for examples of where this could be useful). (e.g. try '90210' into locator in https://www.usps.com/ or http://www.uhaul.com/Locations/ ... ). Also Car dealerships; possibly UHaul.

It seems common to have different contact info, opening hours etc, for different service offerings within the same larger branch.

Example from Tom Morris, " I was assuming this would be something like an auto dealer where the Parts department closes at 5 pm, Service might be open slightly later until 6 pm, and Sales is open until 9 pm or whenever there's a remote chance that someone will wander in with money. "

Revised proposal

We augment "Organization" with the ability to point to a department, which is just another Organization (or, implicitly, one of its more specific subtypes).

We have departmentOf as an inverse pointer. Also we would generalise the 'openingHoursSpecification' property (which takes the similarly named OpeningHoursSpecification type as a value); instead of only applying to a LocalBusiness, we allow it to apply potentially to any Organization.

  • One simple change: we add 'department' property to Organization, with expected type of Organization
  • We can handle this with new properties on Organization (3 properties: departmentOf, department, openingHoursSpecification); No new subtypes.
  • RDFa 1.1 and JSON-LD notations have mechanism for reverse-direction properties, which reduces need for departmentOf. But It would be useful enough to add.
  • Note that it is awkward that we have a property and type pair (openingHoursSpecification OpeningHoursSpecification) that differ only by case of one letter; but this is already the situation, see LocalBusiness

Earlier designs

The proposed representation is to introduce a new property, "department", on LocalBusiness (and a convenience inverse, "departmentOf"). That property's target type would be:

Thing > Organization > LocalBusiness > LocalBusinessDepartment


Proposed 2013-03-05

next steps:

  • make some (realistic) examples
  • circulate on public-vocabs, to schema.org partners, and interested W3C groups (e.g. eGov)
  • check scope of definition (LocalBusiness, Organization); confirm property/type names
    • w.r.t. hasUnit from the W3C Org vocab; v close, but schema.org does not use the 'hasFoo' naming idiom (declare samePropertyAs?).
    • is this peculiar to LocalBusiness, or would we potentially want the same for any Organization?... latest proposal is generalised


  • a new type, LocalBusinessDepartment, with superClass LocalBusiness (inherits name, phone numbers, and opening hours from LocalBusiness, and adds just one new property)
  • add 'department' to existing LocalBusiness type; perhaps also to Organization
  • a new property, departmentOf ("The larger organization or business to which this department belongs."), whose value is LocalBusiness (potentially Organization instead, but consistent with whatever we say for 'department')

Related Work