Aplication Profile

Document metadata

The DCMI Abstract Model (DCAM) is a specification which defines an abstract syntax for metadata records that is independent of, but mappable to, a diversity of concrete implementation syntaxes such as HTML/XHTML, XML, and any of the concrete syntaxes defined for RDF. The DCAM was developed as a basis for defining validatable metadata records, in a variety of popular implementation syntaxes, whose contents could straightforwardly be exposed as RDF triples.

Dublin Core Application Profile

The notion of an “application profile” was introduced to the Dublin Core community by Rachel Heery at the 8th Dublin Core workshop of October 2000. The idea distinguished sharply between “namespace schemas” (sets of data elements as defined by their maintainers) and “application profile schemas” (sets of data elements drawn from one or more namespace schemas and optimized for local needs by implementors), introducing the notion of “mixing-and-matching Dublin Core elements with elements from related vocabularies. By design, an application profile was limited to using elements defined elsewhere: “If an implementor wishes to create ‘newÂ’ elements that do not exist elsewhere then (under this model) they must create their own namespace schema, and take responsibility for ‘declaringÂ’ and maintaining that schema”[1]. The application profile documented how elements were constrained, encoded, or interpreted for application-specific purposes in order to promote the harmonization of metadata practice within broader communities, though it was anticipated that machine-processable expressions of profiles “based on data models such as RDF” might allow metadata interoperability to be automated[2]. The application profile was envisioned as a machine-understandable, narrative response to the question, “What terms does your metadata use?”[3].

Towards formalized application profiles

The initially very general conceptualization of application profiles was interpreted in many incompatible ways. Making application profiles comparable among themselves would require a shared modeling basis, and the obvious candidate for that model was RDF. First steps towards formalizing the notion of Dublin Core application profiles on the basis of RDF were taken between 2000 and 2003 in the context of the EU Schemas Project[4] and in the CEN/ISSS Workshop on Metadata for Multimedia Information–Dublin Core (WS/MMI-DC) of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN)[5].

Starting in 2003, work on a DCMI Abstract Model (DCAM) was intended in part to provide a more solid modeling basis for application profiles. The formalized notion of a Description Set, centerpiece of the DCAM, provided the basis for formalizing the notion of a Description Set Profile (DSP)[6] — the expression of structural constraints on a Description Set in the form of “templates” for its components (Descriptions and Statements). The Description Set Profile, in turn, formed the centerpiece of the “Singapore Framework for Dublin Core Application Profiles”[7], which defined application profiles as a set of specifications documenting, however simply, the design process by which Functional Requirements informed a Domain Model of entities to described by the metadata, as the basis for a Description Set Profile detailing vocabularies used and what constraints, in turn providing the basis for concrete metadata formats.

An Application Profile, under this model, was seen not just as a schema, but as a packet of specifications and Usage Guidelines documenting an application-specific metadata model — a model in turn grounded on domain standards such as Community Domain Models, Metadata Vocabularies, and the DCAM with its related syntax guidelines. Domain standards were themselves grounded in the “foundation standards” of RDF. A primer for creating application profiles on this basis, “Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles”, was published in 2009[8], and the DCMI Usage Board developed and tested criteria for evaluating the conformance of application profiles to the guidelines and principles articulated in the Singapore Framework[9].


  1. ? http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue25/app-profiles/
  2. ? http://dublincore.org/usage/documents/profiles/
  3. ? http://journals.tdl.org/jodi/article/view/40
  4. ? http://www.schemas-forum.org/project-info/objectives.htm
  5. ? ftp://ftp.cenorm.be/PUBLIC/CWAs/e-Europe/MMI-DC/cwa14855-00-2003-Nov.pdf
  6. ? http://dublincore.org/documents/dc-dsp/
  7. ? http://dublincore.org/documents/singapore-framework/
  8. ? http://dublincore.org/documents/profile-guidelines/
  9. ? http://dublincore.org/documents/profile-review-criteria/
  10. ? http://dublincore.org/documents/interoperability-levels/
  11. ? http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2731.txt
  12. ? http://www.w3.org/TR/rdfa-syntax/
  13. ? http://dublincore.org/documents/dc-html/
  14. ? http://www.w3.org/TR/skos-reference/
  15. ? http://w3.org/2011/rdf-wg/
  16. ? http://dublincore.org/groups/collections/collection-application-profile/2007-03-09/
  17. ? http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/repositories/digirep/index/Scholarly_Works_Application_Profile
  18. ? http://dublincore.org/usage/reviews/2009/swap/
  19. ? http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/Review_of_DCMI_Abstract_Model
  20. ? http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/lld/wiki/F2F_Pittsburgh
  21. ? http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-lld/2010Oct/0098.html
  22. ? http://dublincore.org/documents/singapore-framework/
  23. ? http://aliman.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/sodc/SoDC-0.2/index.html
  24. ? http://clarkparsia.com/pellet/icv/
  25. ? http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-lld/2010Nov/0114.html
  26. ? https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=ind0509&L=DC-RDF-TASKFORCE&P=R2034&I=-3



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