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This project aims to create an extensive and authoritative mapping of vocabularies from major content metadata standards, creating a downloadable tool to support interoperability across communities.

Vocabulary Mapping Framework

January 2010: This project is now complete and the VMF Framework, plus the supporting documentation is available for download from the project website. Contextual information is supplied by the project's final report.

Work is under way to create an extensive and authoritative mapping of vocabularies from major content metadata standards, creating a downloadable tool to support interoperability across communities.

The work is an expansion of the existing RDA/ONIX Framework into a comprehensive vocabulary of resource relators and categories, which will be a superset of those used in major standards from the publisher/producer, education and bibliographic/heritage communities (CIDOC CRM; DCMI; DDEX; DOI; FRBR; MARC21; LOM; ONIX; RDA – see reference section below for details).

The resulting tool will be known as the Vocabulary Mapping Framework (VMF). The new vocabulary is not intended as a replacement for any existing standards, but as an aid to interoperability, whether automatic or human-mediated. The expanded Framework will include mappings of terms from code lists or allowed value sets in the existing standards to the RDA/ONIX vocabulary, enabling the computation of “best fit” mappings between any pairing of standards.

The results of the VMF project will be formally presented at an event at the British Library on the morning of November 9th this year, and made available on the Web.

The project is being carried out by Godfrey Rust and Steffen Lindek of Rightscom and Gordon Dunsire, Deputy Director of the Centre for Digital Library Research at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, with input from other domain experts. A virtual Advisory Group drawn from interested parties is being convened.

The International DOI Foundation, which fully endorses this work, will provide the web hosting facility as part of its commitment to promoting the wider use of interoperable metadata, and will use the mapping vocabulary wherever possible to support the association of metadata with DOI names. The existing RDA/ONIX Framework (which currently supports categorization of resource content and carriers) will be extended to support: works; parties; relators between resources, and relators between parties and resources

ISO TC46/SC9 identifiers (ISBN, etc) are also among those standards which may be reviewed to support formal concept analysis, and some may be included in the Framework in future.

The intent is that the Framework will be maintained on an ongoing basis and that new vocabularies, standard or proprietary, may be added by interested parties.

The work will result in:

  • a mapping of vocabularies from the source standards to support the building of crosswalks and transformations between any of them;
  • a definitive reference set which editors can draw on when creating and developing standards;
  • a downloadable RDF/OWL ontology to support the interchange of metadata content between these major standards, which will be useful to enable automated reuse of metadata from different sources and schemas, to improve the quality and access and reduce the cost of metadata;
  • a governance scheme to oversee further development.

The vocabulary and mappings will be captured and made available in human readable tabular form as well as in RDF/OWL.

It is hoped that further phases of the project will deliver:

  • support for the automatic generation of term-to-term mappings between any pair of mapped schemes;
  • an operational framework maintained on a web host, with mechanisms for additions to existing vocabularies and the addition of new vocabularies.

The RDA/ONIX framework categorizes resources in all media that could support the needs of libraries and the publishing industry, and builds on successful standards from the book publishing community (ONIX) and the library world (RDA: Resource Description and Access for the digital world, built on the foundation established for the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules). It builds on the principles of interoperability established in the indecs Content Model.

Documents & Multimedia

Start date
1 June 2009
End date
20 November 2009
Project website