[CODATA-international] Panel Session at DCMI conference: The Cross-Domain Interoperability Framework: Coordinating Standards for Scalable, Practical FAIR Sharing (4 October, 13:15 EDT)

Asha CODATA asha at codata.org
Tue Oct 4 02:04:29 EDT 2022

*Tuesday, 4 October, 13:15-14:45 EDT*

The 20th International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications
(DCMI 2022)

*Register here (virtual session):*

We are now witnessing the emergence of FAIR data-sharing mechanisms in many
areas, with the focus having shifted from the “what” to the “how” in many
organizations. In many domains, there are a number of common standards –
some which can apply equally across domains, and some specific to the data,
processes, and practices within that domain. The challenge of FAIR data
sharing – ubiquitous, automated reuse of data and metadata – is
particularly acute across domain and infrastructure boundaries, demanding a
change in how data are described.

To meet this challenge, it is important to first understand how the
different standards and models used to describe data can be employed, so
that they speak not only to traditional users, but also to users coming
from other domains. One major development in this area is the idea of a
FAIR Digital Object Framework (FDOF), where information – both data and
metadata – of interest for the discovery and reuse of data can be
identified and obtained. The FDOF represents an initial step, but does not
address many of the practical issues of interoperability. We must look at
the intersection of standards of different types and how they fit into this
picture: the idea that every FAIR resource is implemented according to an
entirely new set of technical standards is not realistic. The FDOF serves
as an agreed way to obtain needed FAIR resources and to learn enough about
them to understand some related resources (e.g., metadata schemas) at the
level of a protocol. It is not sufficient on its own to produce
interoperability, which will require an ability to actually understand the
metadata schemas being used. When it comes to standards, some parts of FAIR
are better supported than others.

Discovery of FAIR resources increasingly relies on standards and approaches
which are widely adopted, and often much the same across domains and
institutional boundaries. DCAT, Schema.org <http://schema.org/>, and
Dublin-Core-based cataloguing metadata is commonly found in many areas. For
other aspects of FAIR however, this degree of domain-agnostic
standardization does not exist. Semantics and vocabularies are often deeply
domain-dependent, and other important types of metadata needed for
effective reuse – structural metadata, provenance, etc. – are also seen in
many different forms, reflecting domain practice. Within any given domain,
the standards requiring support may be well-understood, and limited in
number. The same cannot typically be said when data from other domains is
the target of reuse. If we are to make use of the FDOF as intended, we need
to have a second tier of domain-agnostic standards which makes this
profusion of models, schemas, etc. tractable. Such a second tier should be
developed as a mechanism for domain-specific standards to be more easily
exchanged and transformed. Technical standards such as RDF, JSON, XML
(etc.) may provide a useful foundation, but they are not themselves

The standard vocabularies and models which are understandable across
domains provide an additional needed layer of interoperability. One good
example of this is SKOS: many domains use concept systems of different
types. If they are described in SKOS, they can at least be exchanged and
processed in a coherent way across domain boundaries, even if the specifics
of the concepts themselves need further attention. The EOSC
Interoperability Framework introduced this idea of a leveled hierarchy of
standards, and it is a useful way to understand what a practical approach
to interoperability looks like as we progress from the universal toward the
domain- and community specific. This session presents the requirements
which lead us to a middle tier of domain-agnostic standards in support of
the FDOF, and proposes some candidates for consideration based on
implementations and explorations to date. Some examples of such standards
are provided, showing how they can work together to provide the complete
information set needed to reuse data in a FAIR data-sharing scenario across
domain and institutional boundaries.

The focus of the session is on the “interoperability” and “reuse” elements
of FAIR, but the session will touch on all aspects of FAIR data sharing,
and how it might practically be realized. In particular, we aim to present
these ideas to the DCMI community, to get feedback and to understand how
this approach may intersect with current activities and thinking in the
DCMI community and with related initiatives.

*Presenters: Arofan Gregory (DDI Alliance and CODATA), Flavio Rizzolo
(Statistics Canada), Franck Cotton (INSEE), and Simon Hodson (CODATA)*




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Asha Law | Program Assistant, CODATA | http://www.codata.org

E-Mail: asha at codata.org
Tel (Office): +33 1 45 25 04 96

CODATA (Committee on Data of the International Council for Science), 5 rue
Auguste Vacquerie, 75016 Paris, FRANCE
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