Data and Datasets overview

This note provides some background on the various notions of "data" and "dataset" related to Schema.org.

Schema.org as a project, and as a collection of terms, is entirely devoted to data. We define types such as Event, NewsArticle, Review, Person, as well as properties that characterize and interlink instances of these types. For example, the "alumni" property links people with educational organizations.

Schema.org itself also contains some dedicated vocabulary that can be used in applications which publish, discover or integrate different kinds of data. Just as schema.org defines vocabulary to help describe people, volcanos and public toilets, it can also be used to describe data. This capability is in addition to schema.org's general nature as a collection of structured data schemas, and complements numerous other data-related formats and standards.

Other related work includes W3C's CSVW and RDF Data Cube specifications, as well as the DSPL 2.0 specification. DSPL 2.0 combines Schema.org for per-dataset metadata with the use of CSV files to represent code lists, enumerations and statistical observations. These technologies all in turn depend on lower-level standards, such as for JSON-LD, RDFa, Microdata, XML, Unicode etc., and share a broadly RDF-like approach to representing information.