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. An overview 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.