Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Announcing Actions

When we launched almost 3 years ago, our main focus was on providing vocabularies for describing entities --- people, places, movies, restaurants, ... But the Web is not just about static descriptions of entities. It is about taking action on these entities --- from making a reservation to watching a movie to commenting on a post.

Today, we are excited to start the next chapter of and structured data on the Web by introducing vocabulary that enables websites to describe the actions they enable and how these actions can be invoked.

The new actions vocabulary is the result of over two years of intense collaboration and debate amongst the partners and the larger Web community. Many thanks to all those who participated in these discussions, in particular to members of the Web Schemas and Hydra groups at W3C. We are hopeful that these additions to will help unleash new categories of applications.

Jason Douglas,
Sam Goto (Google)

Steve Macbeth, 
Jason Johnson (Microsoft)

Alexander Shubin (Yandex)

Peter Mika (Yahoo)

To learn more, see the overview document or Action, potentialAction and EntryPoint on

Thursday, February 6, 2014 Sports Vocabulary

The partners, in collaboration with experts from the BBC and IPTC/SportsML, are pleased to share a proposal for improving the sports vocabulary.  The proposal includes support for describing sports organizations, athletes, and events, with a focus on the most common sports types being published on the Web today. Although the proposal includes support for describing sports statistics within these domains, the initial set of properties are limited to those which are broadly applicable.  More detailed, sport-specific statistics will be the subject of future additions to the base statistic classes.

The sports vocabulary proposal is available as an exported PDF in the W3C Web Schemas - Sports wiki and a machine readable version of the schema will be posted soon.  We encourage the web community to review and provide feedback via the wiki, the W3C public vocabs mailing list (, or by joining the sports vocabulary discussion group.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Content Accessibility

It has long been important to help users find the "right content". With the incredible diversity of the people who use the Web, and the devices they are using it from, it is more important than ever to find the content that works best for a given user's current situation.

Content metadata has an important role to play in this regard. So we're very happy to announce the inclusion of several Accessibility properties into, published this week. These additions to CreativeWork make it easier for publishers and webmasters to connect end-users with the most useful content, and help users with special needs locate and consume content that is most appropriate for their specific needs. For example a blind user may want to locate a text-book that is available with particular accessibility features and formats, or a user with hearing impairments may need to locate a captioned version of a video.

This work draws upon many collaborations and projects including the IMS Global Learning Consortium's Access For All specification (, the work of the Accessibility Metadata Project (, alongside many discussions that helped ensure the work integrated well into

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed!

TV Raman (Google)
Chaals (Yandex)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 for TV and Radio markup

The new version of includes the TV and radio extension we have been working on with Jean-Pierre Evain (EBU) and Dan Brickley (for This update offers improved support for describing TV and radio shows, for example:

  • 'The Hungry Earth' is the 8th episode of the 5th season of Doctor Who
  • It is broadcast on BBC One London at 18:15, on the 22nd of May 2010
  • It is available on BBC iPlayer for two weeks after that

Embedding such data in web pages means that it can be aggregated by search engines, which can then provide more information around TV and radio search results, as well as providing instant answers to queries such as 'when is the next Eastenders episode on?'. We built on previous efforts in modelling such information, such as TV Anytime, EBU Core and the BBC Programmes Ontology. The RDFa definition from which the extension was built in has equivalence links to concepts in these ontologies.

This update also maintains backwards-compatibility with previously existing concepts (e.g. TVEpisode, TVSeries and TVSeason) and properties.

The concepts related to this update are the following:

Of course, this extension is just the beginning at better support for broadcast and media-related data. We focused on basic information and fixing a few issues in the first release for the time being, but there are more areas to explore. As consensus builds around them, possible extensions could also be proposed to or published directly in RDFa as extension markup using existing vocabularies such as the ones published by the EBU or the BBC. This include for example support for segmentation (tracklists, chapters, etc.) and their links to media fragments, more detailed contributor/character information (e.g. 'David Tennant plays the Xth Doctor in this episode') and the description of multiple video, audio and data tracks (e.g. ‘This episode has two audio tracks, one in French and one in English’).

Regardless of any future improvements,'s TV and Radio vocabulary now provides a stable basis for Web sites to share rich descriptions of TV/Radio content. See's full listing of vocabularies to see this work in its wider context.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 v1.0d published: TV/Radio, Civic Services, ContactPoint, Event and Organization improvements version 1.0d has been published. This release brings a number of practical additions and improvements - here's a high level overview. As always, the site has a full listing of the entire vocabulary, and W3C's WebSchemas group has details of the background discussions.

Civic Services. As we described earlier, this work provides vocabulary such as GovernmentService for describing services of various kinds. As part of this work, we have also updated ContactPoint, which now for example provides a mechanism for describing contact points for services which support users with hearing impairments.

TV/Radio. These long-awaited changes bring a number of adjustments to the existing vocabulary for TV, including adding parent types such as Series with distinct types for RadioSeries and TVSeries. Many thanks are due to Yves Raimond (BBC) and Jean-Pierre Evain (European Broadcasting Union) for leading this work.

We also made a small but useful improvement to the Organization type, by adding department and
subOrganization properties that relate organizations to each other. This can be used when describing common situations such as a bookshop containing a coffeeshop, or a larger store that includes a pharmacy, when details such as opening hours or contact information vary.

Finally, we made some changes to the Event type, adding support - via an eventStatus property - for canceled, postponed or rescheduled events, as well as a previousStartDate property to help describe rescheduled events more accurately.

Monday, October 21, 2013 at ISWC 2013 conference

Various members of the W3C Web Schemas group (where we collaborate on improvements to are at the International Semantic Web conference in Sydney this week. If you're at the conference, we've arranged for an ad-hoc vocabulary collaboration room to be available on thursday and friday. Feel free to make use of the room during those times for any discussions around Web Schemas, and related technologies, and to the W3C wiki to suggest topics... 

The room is BAYSIDE 201, available any time during Thursday morning (08:30-11:40), Thursday afternoon (14:40-18:00), or Friday morning (8:30-11:40). Several members of the team will also be at R.V.Guha's keynote on wednesday morning. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vocabulary for describing Civic Services

When people are in need of government services, they often turn to search engines, but the top result may not be for the service of interest. A new vocabulary, similar to the European Commission ISA Core Public Service vocabulary, has been proposed to improve search engines’ understanding of these services. It is intended to provide enough information to determine the service, the area covered by the service, and relevant information for using the service. The Civic Services proposal is available from W3C's Wiki; any future updates and status reports will be made available in the same way.

We are always open to ideas for expanding's descriptive vocabulary. Day-to-day public discussion of such extensions happens in the W3C WebSchemas group, using a combination of e-mail and Wiki pages to explore new schema ideas. However we are aware that not everyone will follow those detailed discussions, and it is often important to get wider review of proposed schemas. The full Civic Services proposal (see full PDF) gives details of scope and markup examples - currently the focus is on describing the availability of services, and on various kinds of permit. The vocabulary is designed to integrate with other aspects of, e.g. our medical/health and Audience vocabularies, as well as the mechanisms for describing opening hours and locations shared by various kinds of local business and government office. An example HTML snippet describing a hotline, including the languages offered and provider is available in the WebSchemas Wiki at W3C. would like to encourage review and commentary around this new proposed vocabulary; in particular we would like to hear from potential publishers of such data from around the world. Comments are welcomed here, in the W3C Wiki, by public email to (preferred) or to 

Monday, June 3, 2013 and JSON-LD

We'd like to take a minute to share our enthusiasm for some recent work at W3C: JSON-LD. is all about shared vocabulary - it helps integrate data across applications, Web sites and data formats. We are adding JSON-LD to the list of formats we recommend for use with, alongside Microdata and RDFa - each has strengths and weaknesses for different usage scenarios.

In HTML, descriptions can be written using markup attributes in HTML (i.e. RDFa and Microdata). However there are often cases when data is exchanged in pure JSON or as JSON within HTML. W3C's work on JSON-LD provides mechanisms for interpreting structured data in JSON that promotes interoperability with other data formats. We believe it provides value for developers and publishers, and improves the flow of information between JSON and other environments.

There are some technical details to work through on how exactly terms are defined for JSON-LD usage, but it is already clear that JSON-LD is a useful contribution to structured data sharing in the Web. Many thanks to the hardworking W3C community for creating the specification.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Good Relations and

Today, we are pleased to announce that we are integrating e-commerce schemas from the  GoodRelations project into The addition of these widely adopted schemas into will make it more easy for Web publishers to express structured data about products, offers, companies, stores and related facts. was designed as a platform where the Web community can come together and share structured schemas that improve the ability for search engines to understand the content of Web pages. Our collaboration with GoodRelations exemplifies this: GoodRelations provides a rich, well known and widely used terminology for e-commerce data sharing. By integrating GoodRelations into, we make it easier for publishers to adopt, and also combine such vocabulary. Just as with IPTC rNews previously, and many other collaborations, our approach has been to bring together existing work in a way that hides multi-schema complexity behind a common datamodel. 

Effective immediately, the GoodRelations vocabulary ( is directly available from within the site for use with both HTML5 Microdata and RDFa. Webmasters of e-commerce sites can use all GoodRelations types and properties directly from the namespace to expose more granular information for search engines and other clients, including delivery charges, quantity discounts, and product features. Enumerated lists of values remain managed at GoodRelations URLs, following our general approach for referencing 'external enumerations'.

Integrating these schemas has involved making a few decisions, and we welcome all feedback on the approach taken here. In order to have consistent naming conventions between and GoodRelations, some terms were given new names for use within There are also a few cases where existing vocabulary differed in terminology or 'level of detail' with GoodRelations. We will continue to improve our documentation, examples and FAQ to make clearer the new expressivity that these additions bring. But we wanted to share this progress as early as possible, since it provides an important step forward for structured data and e-commerce on the Web.

Good Relations has been developed and maintained by Martin Hepp since 2002 and continues as an ongoing project. We look forward to seeing it reach new audiences via

R.V. Guha