Data Type Registries WG

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Data Type Registries WG

Postby llannom » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:17 pm

Attached is the initial Case Statement for the Data Type Registries Working Group.

Please provide comments.


Larry and Daan
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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby pwittenburg » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:42 pm

Dear Larry and colleagues,

here is my little comment to the case statement:

• I found the description of goals clear and the roadblock to be removed is obvious. To me there is no doubt that such a type registry could have great impact once available in particular for the many "naive" researchers which are currently overloaded with IT issues.
• Interesting is that there is funding for implementing this and that RDA is used to derive more generic specifications - so something RDA is really made for. Since development is not part of this WG but “only” specification and since developers will wait on the specs I am confident that the timeline will be met and that the adoption is clarified.
• It would certainly improve the work if people from more communities could be included.

Peter Wittenburg
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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby Gary » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:25 pm

I wonder if any of the work of XBRL International Inc. for Business , ( February 2011 ) on Data Type Registry ( Structure 1.0) relevant to work for sharing science data?
While the business domain is very different the process used to standardize things might allow some leveraging. They deal with expressing "business facts" using entities that are located in space and time which has a parallel in expressing scientific facts. They also have to have such data type concept containers as document which is probably needed for registries.
See ... 02-22.html

Gary Berg-Cross
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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby llannom » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:08 pm

Peter, Gary,

Thanks for the comments. I am encouraged.

Regarding XBRL - thanks and certainly something to look at. The specs should be developed keeping in mind as many use cases as possible to make sure that the data model doesn't have too narrow a focus.

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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby dgiaretta » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:25 pm

Hi all

I fully agree with the need for such a registry. The SCIDIP-ES project ( is creating something related, and this might be interesting to include in the WG considerations.

Something that concerns us is how to adequately include the semantics needed to actually be able to use data. It is clear that, as the case statement implies, we need more than the format registries which currently exist, in part because of the multiple semantics which may be associated with any particular format. For example sometimes additional semantics are embedded within the format, but often many details are contained in some specific software or else in the heads of the usual users of the data - especially where standard types are being used in non-standard ways. Even where additional semantics are embedded these are in the form of strings or symbols (e.g. in XML tags or RDF) the meaning of which are not necessarily obvious.

It seems to us the if the semantics are not dealt with properly then automated processing becomes very difficult, if not impossible.

Any thoughts on this?


...David Giaretta
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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby llannom » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:55 am

Hi David,

Thanks for the pointer.

I agree with you on all counts. My thoughts are that 1) having type information in a registry that falls short of enabling complete automation but does provide sufficiently detailed information to aid in cross-researcher or domain interoperability is still valuable, and 2) to the extent that the registry can provide a place to register services that are known, or claimed, to work with data of a certain type can be automation of a sort. I am hopeful that if the infrastructure is good enough, we will see some emergent applications and processes.

Larry Lannom
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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby natasab » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:51 pm

Dear all,

As as outlined in the case statement there are many initiatives which maintain or hold Data Type (or Formats) registries, also the fact that many service registries have come and gone.

Would be very interesting to make a try within the RDA initiative to use the work already done by relevant initiatives. How would a data type registry be sustainable and accurate - is an important issue when understanding the use cases and eventual services that will be defined.
Would this group try to involve some players such as: IANA, PRONOM, Open Planets etc. some additional mentioned above?
These could all have different aspects of interest in terms of which information is important, and what kind of services need to be associated with such a registry.
One can in this case think of services to notify the others that there is a new format, whereas the "RDA" (compliant) produced registry could indeed aggregate a lot of information from other available registries.

Natasha Bulatovic
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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby clac » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:05 am

I appreciate the content of the document. The case statement is well described.
About the relations between type registries and service registries, it could be interesting to adopt an approach which allows users to suggest services which can mange specific data types. The risk would be an increasing entropy, but this could be mitigated by some sort of moderation, performed by the registry administrators.
A similar approach could be used for the compositions of single data types into complex types.

Claudio Cacciari
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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby llannom » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:42 pm

Thanks to Natasha and Claudio for the recent comments.

Regarding sustainability and accuracy -- indeed this is a key issue. Our proposal, so far, is not to try to solve this organizationally but to define a specification and framework in which multiple registries would exist and connect. This leaves the persistence and quality of the registries in the hands of the organizations that decide to start them. As suggested in the case statement, accreditation of registries and other infrastructural services is one potential role for the RDA or a joint activity in which the RDA takes part.

Regarding relations to other groups and services -- yes this is clearly an area to be looked at. The case statement uses MIME types as the obvious example - any type registry would have to acknowledge these types if only not mislead users who might not otherwise be aware of them but there is clearly no reason to try to replace existing services for no reason other than completeness. So, pointers and connections among existing and new services seem clearly needed. Where this would go in a general architecture should be a discussion topic.

Regarding ad hoc suggestions on services appropriate to given types or compostion of simple types - I think that's an excellent suggestion. Even if moderated, though, it would probably have to be in some sort of category distingusihed from assertions by those who had created or in some sense actively supported new services or combinations. Maybe just in the form of comments on the more formally registered services and types? Good discussion topic.

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Re: Data Type Registries WG

Postby parsonsm » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:48 pm

Council has formally recognized this RDA Working Group. Below is the letter the Council sent the group chairs prior to the Launch, where the decision was finalized.

The group had active and fruitful discussions in Göteborg. They are preparing on an adoption plan as requested by Council and are getting to work on the deliverables outlined in the case statement.

Letter from Council:
Dear Larry and Daan,

In the last few weeks the RDA Council received an initial group of Case Statements for assessment and we are writing to you to provide a response to your submission. We very much appreciate your discussions which have been, and continue to be, an important part of establishing and building the RDA as an organization that can have substantial impact and effectiveness within the data community.

The process for assessing the Case Statements was as follows:  The Liaisons for each of the submitting groups were asked to provide a technical assessment of the Case Statement.  Council used these assessments in a substantial way to assess the potential impact of the effort.  Council closely read the Case Statement as well as RDA Forum discussions for the group in order to get a sense of the discussion and participation.  (We were also aware that at this point, part of the discussion for some groups were not conducted on the RDA Forum).  Council’s assessment of the impact and alignment with the RDA mission included a strong focus on whether the Case Statement included concrete deliverables that would directly or indirectly enable a research community of practice and would be adopted by Working Group members during the effort.

With regard to your Case Statement the RDA Council approved Data Type Registries as a Working Group.  Please provide an adoption plan within one month that includes at least two organizations that will adopt the registry (e.g. CNRI and EUDAT/EPIC).  Please provide a timeline for the adoptions.

If it is useful, we would like to meet the chairs of your group to discuss this decision with you, and hope to do so during the Plenary meeting in Gothenburg next week. Ross Wilkinson ( and Fran Berman ( will be available on Sunday to answer any questions or discuss if you are arriving early, and otherwise all of us (including John Wood []) will work with you to find a time during the three days to meet with you.

We appreciate your group’s discussion and engagement with the RDA and look forward to seeing you in Gothenburg.

Ross, Fran, and John
Mark A. Parsons
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