[ckan-discuss] Metadata questions

William Waites ww at styx.org
Sun Jan 15 18:40:36 GMT 2012

Lucy, as Martin mentioned, this is particularly within the remit of
the LOD2 outreach/consulting activities, to help e.g. local
authorities do these kinds of things. I do hope that one of the
outcomes of the LOD2 project is a set of easy, brief, readable,
cargo-cultable examples and recipes for how publishers can make
available linked data versions of their stuff.

There are a couple of options for the metadata:

  1. Don't worry about the metadata descriptions as linked data so
     much, just make sure they end up in a CKAN instance, and count on
     the CKAN->RDF conversion to make the descriptions.

  2. Make the metadata descriptions by hand. Use the voiD vocabulary
     if they are linked data or DCat if they are not. This can be as
     simple as copy-paste-and-edit from existing descriptions.

A reasonably complete example might be:


either look at the "Turtle" link, or navigate back to the CKAN page to
see where this comes from.

In terms of the datasets themselves, where there are established
practices for ways to model particular types of data, by all means put
a stake in the ground and define your own hoping others follow. It may
ease adoption if you try to do this in, for example, the data.gov.uk
namespace because others may see it as more neutral, but that can
require quite a lot of coordination so don't let that block you!
Another option is to use a persistent redirect service like
http://purl.org/ which also has the advantage of being neutral.

Do follow the Cabinet Office guidelines on how to structure your URIs
in any case! That will greatly increase their chances of adoption by
other local authorities.

I would recommend joining one of the W3C mailing lists and asking
questions there, the eGovernment Interest Group seems the most likely,
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-egov-ig/ and there are
certain to be people there working through the same questions that you
are, possibly even some of your counterparts at other local
authorities in the UK.

Finally, expect several iterations of publishing, refining and
re-publishing. Publishing good quality linked data can be tricky
especially the first time until you get a feel for how it works. This
is normal and there are quite a lot of people who will be happy to
give advice and feedback. 

Hope this helps,

    > "One of the 'technicalities' we are struggling with at the
    > moment has to do with the concept of Linked data and connecting
    > our datasets to the wider semantic web. How should we structure
    > our datasets' metadata? What URI's to use? Should we create our
    > own URI descriptions and share, hoping other local authorities
    > will adopt the same?    Any suggestions on this matter are very
    > welcome. My colleague told me about come central repository of
    > URI where one can register new ones. Do you know about this?"

    > -- Lucy Chambers  Community Coordinator Open Knowledge
    > Foundation  http://okfn.org/ Skype: lucyfediachambers

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