The paper seeks to analyze the health of the vocabulary ecosystem in terms of requirements, addressing its various stakeholders such as maintainers of linked open vocabularies, linked data providers who use those vocabularies in their data and memory institutions which, it is hoped, will eventually provide for the long-term preservation of vocabularies.
This paper builds on requirements formulated more tersely in the DCMI generic namespace policy for RDF vocabularies. The examination of requirements for linked open vocabularies focuses primarily on property-and-class vocabularies in RDFS or OWL (sometimes called metadata element sets), with some consideration of SKOS concept schemes and Dublin Core application profiles. It also discusses lessons learned through two years of development of the linked open vocabularies (LOV), of which main features and key findings are described.
Key findings about the current practices of vocabulary managers regarding metadata, policy and versioning are presented, as well as how such practices can be improved to ensure better discoverability and usability of RDF vocabularies. The paper presents new ways to assess the links and dependencies between vocabularies. It also stresses the necessity and importance of a global governance of the ecosystem in which vocabulary managers, standard bodies, and memory institutions should engage.
The current paper is focused on requirements related to a single type of vocabulary but could and should be extended to other types such as thesauri, classifications, and other semantic assets.
Practical technical guidelines and social good practices are proposed for promotion in the Vocabulary Ecosystem (for example, by vocabulary managers).
This paper brings together the research and action of several important actors in the vocabulary management and governance field, and is intended to be the basis of a roadmap for action presented at the Dublin Core conference of September 2013 in Lisbon (DC 2013).
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the LOV symposium, held in Madrid, Spain, on 18 June, 2012.
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