The wide use of schema.org to add structured metadata in web pages for use by commercial search engines has attracted the attention of the data management community as a possible mechanism to leverage the robust commercial search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. to facilitate discovery and access to scientific data. Various projects have been exploring this approach, including the US NSF EarthCube p418 projectGoogle's Dataset Recommendations, BioSchemas, Force11 DCIP, Research Data Australia, DataCite, Harvard Dataverse, NASA’s Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) Infrastructure, EOSCpilot, etc. Since schema.org has largely been driven by commercial business use cases, and a loosely governed process for adding and defining resource type, property and vocabulary for research domain, there are gaps and deficiencies that make its application for research data problematic.
Since P11, the RDA Data Discovery Paradigms IG started the task force "Using schema.org for research data discovery". The group has organised sessions at RDA plenaries and online calls to discuss how we research community come together to embrace the advantages of discovering data via web search engines, meanwhile to address gaps and deficiencies. There is a proposal to form a RDA Working Group with a focused scope and set of well-defined priorities/objectives.
The objectives of this work group are twofold:
- to identify and bridge gaps in existing schemas commonly used for research data, by bringing together communities who are working with such vocabularies to document research data and related resources;
- to provide guidelines for those communities whose needs are not addressed by existing metadata schema such as schema.org, and provide guidelines on proposing extensions.
To align with the above objectives, we instrumented a survey on current practices in using schemas to describe research datasets. The survey is still open, your participation is more than welcome. (The survey was developed by the DDP IG TF, which led to the formation of this WG.)
The planned outputs will include:
A generic ‘conceptual data model’ with essential types and properties for research data discovery over the web. The model will be built on bioschemas.org, science-on-schema.org, schema.org, DCAT, DDI-DISCO and SSN schemas from some representative research domains, and data discovery use cases. A research domain can map their schema to the conceptual model when they publish data to the web or exchange metadata between data portals/repositories.
A guideline, illustrated with common patterns, of common patterns for publishing metadata landing pages with structured data markups; and a guideline of how to customise the research schemas for target domains with examples.
- Toolings for making the implementation easier if resources are available. This could include collecting and cataloguing tools that generate, validate and parse schema.org & DCAT markup, etc.
Research Metadata Schemas WG (This is the directory for all documents prepared by this WG, including meeting notes.)
In particular, the following three documents are for the WG outputs:
- Crosswalks (As dated on 15 May 2020, there are 12 crosswalks from 12 schemas to schema.org.)
- Best practice guides
- Tooling (collecting tools for supporting the structured data publishing process, e.g. tools that generate, validate, crawling search structured data)
Members are more than welcome to contribute to the above three ongoing documents. This output folder has all working in progress documents for the outputs.
The WG's Wiki Index
The group meeting in 2022 (and onward) is on third Wednesday in even months. A meeting reminder will be sent to the group about 2 days before each meeting.
If you are unable to join, you can still add your thoughts to this document with rolling agendas and notes.