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DCMI announces draft of specification for tabular application profiles

The Dublin Core Application Profiles Interest Group wishes to receive comments on the DC Tabular Application Profiles (DC TAP) draft specification. The DC TAP specification aims to facilitate the reuse of metadata terms and concept schemes from existing vocabularies. Initially it is focused on RDF terms, but we hope it will be applicable to some other approaches. It provides a standard tabular format, which is human editable and machine readable, for documenting which terms should be used in a metadata application and any constraints on their use. Work is underway on tools to convert application profiles in DC TAP to other more expressive formats for validating RDF data, such as ShEx and SHACL.

The DC TAP consists of twelve elements that can form the column headers of an application profile in table or spreadsheet form. Profiles in table form can be saved in a machine-readable format, such as comma separated values, which can be processed by programs that manage input forms, validation code, or other processing of the metadata. Though few in number, the DC TAP elements can document: metadata description properties and their cardinality (mandatory, repeatable); RDF node types; value datatypes; and specific value types such as picklists and IRI stems representing namespaces for valid values, and programmable patterns such as regular expressions. Multiple rows that describe properties and their rules can be grouped to form the descriptive set for an entity in the metadata. The DC TAP also includes columns for labels and notes. It has been designed to be compatible with metadata in RDF format, but also can be used with other metadata formats.

Designed for simplicity, the DC TAP does not attempt to capture all possible application profile functions. A more complete range of RDF metadata complexity can be seen in validation languages like SHACL or ShEx. The goal of DC TAP is not to replicate the functionality of those standards but to provide a basic platform that is easily employed by creators with and without a great depth of technical experience.

The DC TAP is defined in a primer and is supported by a vocabulary document and a template. In addition, there are slides and videos of presentations of the DC TAP in meetings and conferences that can be viewed.

The group is interested in making improvements to the DC TAP based on actual use. We would very much like to hear from anyone making use of the DC TAP for their data: what worked, and what didn't. We would also like to gather a variety of profiles using DC TAP for others to view as examples. If you can share your work, please send it to the mailing list given below.

Comments or questions may be presented by opening an issue in the DC TAP github repository or through the group's email list. Posting to the email list is limited to those who have subscribed (to avoid spam), so you are encouraged to join the list to participate in the discussion. If you prefer not to join the list the administrator will forward the message to the list but you might not receive responding emails. The email archive is public readable.