[ckan-discuss] Comments on DCat spec: naming of Distribution

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Wed Apr 11 09:49:20 BST 2012

Hi Faadi, Richard, Oly and Phil,

I'm writing to you guys directly because the email list mentioned on
the DCat spec page seems incorrect: "undefined at w3.org" :-)

I'm sorry I missed the call a few weeks ago. In catching up I've been
working through the spec as currently is:


I have one immediate concrete suggestion:

Rename dcat:Distribution to dcat:Resource.

Why? Distribution has strong sense that this is a distribution of the
dataset -- i.e. the data in the dataset in some concrete form.
However, in reality what is being termed distributions can include
APIs, saved queries or even visualizations of the dataset in addition
to what would be a classic distribution: e.g. zipped version of the
data in the dataset. (See also this email from Richard regarding
"types" of Resources in CKAN [1]).

Why Resource? We thought about the naming of this quite a bit in CKAN
and the best we came up with was Resource. I understand that Resource
is perhaps an overused term in RDF (and computing generally) but I
think it is probably the most appropriate in this circumstance -- that
said, we could perhaps think of a better one (better than both
Distribution and Resource).

(I wonder whether we may have had a role in the naming of this since I
remember back when we first discussing DCat the CKAN project, inspired
by software, had been using concept of a Distribution of a (Data)
Package where the Distribution equated to the serialization of a
Dataset into some concrete form (zipfile on disk)).


[1]: http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/ckan-discuss/2011-December/001860.html

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