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January 17, 2008

Updates to DCMI metadata vocabularies

On Monday, the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative announced a significant update to the descriptions of the DCMI vocabularies, reflected in the RDFS term descriptions available in the DCMI "namespace documents". There are two main changes:

  • the categorisation of what were previously called "encoding schemes" as either Vocabulary Encoding Schemes or Syntax Encoding Schemes;
  • the introduction of assertions of domain (rdfs:domain) and range (rdfs:range) relationships for those DCMI properties with URIs in the https://purl.org/dc/terms/ namespace

Given the wide variation in the existing use of the fifteen properties of the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (with URIs in the https://purl.org/elements/1.1/ namespace), it was decided that making range assertions for these properties may introduce problems for existing applications. So no domain/range assertions are made for those properties, and fifteen new, like-named properties have been defined, with URIs in the https://purl.org/dc/terms/ namespace, and these new properties are the subject of domain/range assertions.

This set of changes represents a considerable step forward in aligning DCMI's descriptions of its own metadata terms with the vocabulary model defined by the DCMI Abstract Model. It is the culmination of a good deal of effort by the DCMI Usage Board and the DCMI Architecture Forum, and in particular by Tom Baker, the chair of the Usage Board, who has done the lion's share of the work in preparing this set of documents and in ensuring that all changes have been documented in accordance with the UB's procedures.

A full description of the changes can be found in the document, Revisions to DCMI Metadata Terms

In addition, and to complement these changes, the document Expressing Dublin Core metadata using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) is now a DCMI Recommendation.

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