Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Schema.org 3.3: News, fact checking, legislation, finance, schedules, howtos, tourism and toilets!

Schema.org 3.3 has been released. As always, the release was prepared, debated and finalized by the schema.org community group, and features a range of additions, adjustments, bugfixes and clarifications to improve the expressiveness and usability of our schemas.

See the release notes for full details, but of particular note are some changes made around the NewsArticle type (in collaboration with the Trust Project on whose work this is largely based). For many years, our definition of NewsArticle was simply "a news article". With this release we add (via our "pending" mechanism) some more subtlety around News, making it possible to mark-up categories of news including opinion pieces, background articles, reportage, as well as as also introducing types for satirical and advertiser content. We also add properties that encourage greater transparency around News creation and publication. These are flagged as "pending" to emphasize that early adopter feedback on the new vocabulary is particularly welcomed, via Github, the W3C group, or the site's feedback form. These developments complement our earlier work to support interoperability amongst fact-checking sites via the ClaimReview type. Following discussion at GlobalFact4 conference, we have also amended the definition of the "expires" to highlight its applicability to fact checking content.

Other highlights of 3.3 include new terminology (also pending implementor feedback) for describing legislation, based on the European Legislation Identifier (ELI) ontology and the work of the ELI taskforce. We have also added an overview page giving more details on our finance-related terminology, contributed by the FIBO community, alongside a proposed design for describing schedules, new subtypes distinguishing user from critic reviews, and a generalization of our recipes schema called "HowTo" for recipe-like tasks that don't result in food. We've also added types for TouristAttraction and for PublicToilet...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Schema.org 3.2: courses, fact-checking, digital publishing accessibility, menus and more...

Schema.org 3.2 is released! This update brings many improvements including new vocabulary for describing courses, fact-check reviews, digital publishing accessibility, as well as a more thorough treatment of menus and a large number of pending proposals which are offered for early-access use, evaluation and improvement. We also introduce a new "hosted extension" area, iot.schema.org which provides an entry point for schema collaborations relating to the Internet of Things field. As always, our releases page has full details.

These efforts depend entirely on a growing network of collaborations, within our own W3C Community Group and beyond. Many thanks are due to the Schema Course Extension Community Group, the IDPF's Epub Accessibility Working Group, members of the international fact-checking network including the Duke Reporters Lab and Full Fact, the W3C Web of Things and Spatial Web initiatives, the Bioschemas project, and to Wikipedia's Wikidata project.

This release also provides the opportunity to thank two of our longest-serving steering group members, whose careers have moved on from the world of structured data markup. Peter Mika and Martin Hepp have both played leading roles in Schema.org since its earliest days, and the project has benefited greatly from their insight, commitment and attention to detail.

As we look towards future developments, it is worth taking a brief recap on how we have organized things recently. Schema.org's primary discussion forum is a W3C group, although its most detailed collaborations are typically in Github, organized around specific issues and proposed changes. These discussions are open to all interested parties. Schema designs frequently draw upon related groups that have a more specific topical focus. For example, the Courses group became a hub for education/learning metadata experts from LRMI and others. This need to engage with relevant experts also motivated the creation of the "pending" area introduced in our previous release. Github is a site oriented towards computer programmers. By surfacing proposed, experimental and other early access designs at pending.schema.org we hope we can reach a wider audience who may have insight to share. With today's release, we add 14 new "pending" designs, with courses, accessibility and fact-checking markup graduating from pending into the core section of schema.org. Future releases will follow this pipeline approach, encouraging greater consistency, quality and clarity as our vocabulary continues to evolve.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

schema.org update: hotels, datasets, "health-lifesci" and "pending" extensions...

Schema.org 3.1 has been released! Many thanks to everyone in the community who has contributed to this update, which includes substantial new vocabulary for describing hotels and accommodation, some improvements around dataset description, as well as the usual collection of new examples, bugfixes, usability, infrastructural, standards compatibility and conceptual consistency improvements.

This release builds upon the recent 3.0 release. In version 3.0 we created a health-lifesci extension as a new home for the extensive collection of medical/health terms that were introduced back in 2012. Publishers and webmasters do not need to update their markup for this change, it is best considered an improvement to the structure of our documentation. Our extension system allows us to provide deeper coverage of specialist topics without cluttering the core project pages. Version 3.0 also included some improvements from the FIBO project, improving our representation of various financial products.

We have also introduced a special extension called "pending", which provides a place for newly proposed schema.org terms to be documented, tested and revised. We hope that this will help schema proposals get wider visibility and review, supporting greater participation from non-developer collaborators. You should not need to be a computer programmer to be part of our project, and "pending" is one step towards making work-in-progress schema proposals more visible without requiring knowledge of highly technical systems like GitHub. We have linked each term in pending.schema.org to the technical discussions at Github, but also to a simple feedback form. We anticipate updating the "pending" area relatively frequently, in between formal releases.

The site also features a new "how we work" document, oriented towards the Web standards community and toolmakers, explaining the evolving process we have adopted towards creating new and improved schemas. See also commentary on this in the UK government technology blog post about making job adverts more open with schema.org.

Many people were involved in these updates, but particular thanks are due to Martin Hepp for leading the hotels/accommodation design, and to Marc Twagirumukiza for chairing the "schemed" W3C community group that led the creation of our new health-lifesci extension.

Finally, we would like to dedicate this release to Peter Mika, who has served on our steering group since the early days. Peter has stepped down as Yahoo's representative, passing his duties to Nicolas Torzec. Thanks, Peter! Welcome, Nicolas...

For more details on version 3.1 of schema.org, check out the release notes

Monday, February 22, 2016

GS1 Web vocabulary: welcoming the first schema.org external extension

Since our version 2.0 release, schema.org is putting increasing emphasis on extensions created through a broad network of community collaborations. Today we celebrate an important milestone in the development of this extensions framework: GS1 have published an initial release of their Web vocabulary. Aoverview document provides more background, and the schemas itself are published at gs1.org/voc/

GS1's SmartSearch initiative has been working with the schema.org community (at W3C and Github), creating a Web-based structured data vocabulary that extends schema.org to support richer product data description. Unlike our hosted extensions (e.g. bib.schema.org, auto.schema.org) that are reviewed, versioned and published as part of schema.org itself, external extensions to schema.org such as GS1's are fully independent and have their own workflows, review processes and infrastructure.

In the case of GS1 the extension vocabulary builds upon an extensive set of pre-existing B2B standards. While this means that in some places there is some divergence between the GS1 terminology and schema.org's, we share a common approach that builds upon the core vocabulary of schema.org and upon underlying foundational standards from W3C such as JSON-LD.

As the work evolves we expect the combination of schema.org and GS1's vocabularies to provide for significantly richer online product descriptions for use in Web search, combining the descriptive depth of GS1 terminology with the broad coverage of schema.org's. We will continue to collaborate with the GS1 team via the schema.org W3C community group to document best practices for combining schema.org terms with the new GS1 vocabulary, both in terms of making the most of the technical features of JSON-LD, and through gradual improvements that bring our vocabularies into closer alignment. While there is still much to be explored, this week's milestone is important as it is the first large scale external extension to schema.org. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Schema.org: what's new?

[starburst visualization of schema.org's hierarchy]
It's time for a round-up of recent developments at schema.org.

We have just published version 2.2. As usual this combines many small fixes with a mix of new vocabulary, as well as efforts to improve the integration and documentation of our existing vocabulary. And as always you can read the full details in our releases page, which in turn links to our issue tracker for even more details. Here are some highlights:

  • We made a number of improvements relating to the description of services, including the addition of providerMobility to indicate dynamic locations, OfferCatalog for hierarchical collections of offers, as well as introduced the notion of a GeoCircle to make it possible to describe service availability in terms of distance from a point or postcode.
  • A new type: ExhibitionEvent for describing exhibitions (e.g. in museums, galleries), alongside a property workFeatured that indicates a CreativeWork featured in an Event. This is quite a typical schema.org change: it generalizes existing vocabulary - workPerformed, workPresented - to cover more scenarios with less terminology. 
  • Added an inverse of the makesOffer property: offeredBy to simplify the description of not-for-profit offers (e.g. library book lending).
  • Improved our support for feed-oriented structured data, by adding DataFeed and DataFeedItem
  • Introduced a new type to represent barcodes.
These are just a small sample of the vocabulary changes introduced in v2.2. This release also includes non-vocabulary improvements, such as a simpler feedback form (available from every page in the 'more...' section), some updates to the FAQ on documentation re-use and https. We are aware that the technical nature of our issue tracking site on Github is not ideal for some people, and hope that the improved feedback form will make it easier for the project to listen to a broader audience.

Finally, the illustration above is included here as a reminder that there is more to schema.org collaboration than fixing bugs and adding new vocabulary. The interactive version applies the D3 visualization toolkit to exploring the schema.org hierarchy. Thanks to Fabio Valsecchi (who made this starburst demo), Gregg Kellogg and Sandro Hawke for their investigations in this area. We are collecting visualization ideas and links in our issue tracker. Another area we also encourage collaboration is around finding even simpler ways of sharing schema.org structured data. In particular we would like to draw attention to the CSV on the Web work at W3C, which offers new ways of mapping between tabular datasets and schema.org-style descriptions. To join our discussions on vocabularies, visualization, syntax issues and more, you can join the schema.org community group at W3C.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Schema.org 2.0

We are pleased to announce the public release of Schema.org 2.0 which brings several significant changes and additions, not just to the vocabulary, but also to how we grow and manage it, from both technical and governance perspectives.

As schema.org adoption has grown, a number groups with more specialized vocabularies have expressed interest in extending schema.org with their terms. Examples of this include real estate, product, finance, medical and bibliographic information. Even in something as common as human names, there are groups interested in creating the vocabulary for representing all the intricacies of names. Groups that have a special interest in one of these topics often need a level of specificity in the vocabulary and operational independence. We are introducing a new extension mechanism which we hope will enable these and many other groups to extend schema.org.

Over the years, Schema.org has taken steps towards become more open. Today, there is more community participation than ever before. The newly formed W3C Schema.org Community Group is now the main forum for schema collaboration, and provides the public-schemaorg@w3.org mailing list for discussions. Schema.org issues are tracked on GitHub. The day to day operations of Schema.org, including decisions regarding the schema, are handled by a newly formed steering group, which includes representatives of the sponsor companies, the W3C and some individuals who have contributed substantially to Schema.org. Discussions of the steering group are public.

Schema.org is a ‘living’ spec that is constantly evolving. Sometimes this evolution can be an issue, such as when other standards groups want to refer to it. So, from this release on, we will be providing snapshots of the entire vocabulary.

And of course, we cannot have a major release without new vocabulary. In this version, we introduce vocabulary for Autos. This represents considerable work by Martin Hepp, Mirek Sopek, Karol Szczepanski and others in the automotive-ontology.org community. In addition, this version also includes a lot of cleanup. A special thanks to Vicki Holland and Dan Brickley for driving this effort.

Over the last four years Schema.org has gotten adoption beyond our wildest expectations. We are deeply grateful to the webmaster and developer communities for this. We will continue working hard to earn your trust.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Schema.org v1.93: VisualArtwork, Invoices, plus lots of fixes and improvements.

Version v1.93 of schema.org has just been released.  As we mentioned in the previous update we are working towards a stable "version 2" release. This isn't yet v2.0, but it serves as a foundation,
fixing a variety of small issues across many schemas and examples. 

This release also introduces new vocabulary for describing visual artworks: a new VisualArtwork type alongside supporting properties - artEdition, artformmaterial and surface. Many thanks to Paul Watson for leading that work. See also Paul's blog posts about the schema, its mapping to the VRA Core 4, and its use with Getty's Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) via Linked Data.

Invoices and bills also now have dedicated vocabulary in schema.org, see the new Invoice type for details. This addresses situations when an invoice is received that is not directly attached to an Order, for example utility bills.

As usual then release notes page has full details. In recent weeks we have been taking care to document the status of all schema.org open issues and proposals in our issue tracker on the Github site. As always, thanks are due to everyone who contributed to this release and to the ongoing discussions in Github and at W3C. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Schema.org v1.92: Music, Video Games, Sports, Itemlist, breadcrumbs and more!

We are happy to announce version v1.92 of schema.org. With this update we "soft launch" a substantial collection of improvements that will form the basis for a schema.org version 2.0 release in early 2015. There remain a number of site-wide improvements, bugfixes and clarifications that we'd like to make before we feel ready to use the name "v2.0". However the core vocabulary improvements are stable and available for use from today. As usual see the release notes page for details.

Please get in touch via the W3C Web Schemas group or our Github issue tracker if you'd like to share feedback with us and the wider schema.org community. We won't go into the details of each update in today's blog post, but there are a lot of additions and fixes, and more coming in 2015. Many thanks to all those who contributed to this release!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Schema.org v1.91: Offer/price documentation fixes, cleanup and community contributions.

Schema.org has been updated to v1.91.

From the release notes:

  • Updated text of the price property to include practical usage guidance, alongside links to information from GS1 for the gtin-related Offer properties.
  • Updated all our examples to follow that guidance; primarily by using priceCurrency and the content= attribute.
  • Noted our thanks to the OpenDomain project for our domain name.
  • Updated the text of the 'image' property to match its expected types. Thanks, Dan Scott!
  • Changed spelling of 'supercededBy' to the more conventional supersededBy. Thanks, Sachini Aparna Herath!
  • Noted that 'logo' and 'photo' are sub-properties of 'image'. Thanks, Sachini Aparna Herath, again!
  • Fixed two syntax errors in examples (Store opening hours RDFa; Book, PublicationVolume Microdata). Thanks, Gregg Kellogg!
  • Added Tolkien-based examples for exampleOfWork/workExample. Thanks, Dan Scott, again!
  • Fixed a bug with our UTF-8 support. Thanks, Richard Wallis!
See the releases page in our documentation for details of previous updates.