Friday, October 11, 2013

Who uses Dublin Core - dcterms?

In my previous post I gave some data on Dublin Core field use. Today I look at who is using Dublin Core's dcterms vocabulary.

The LOV statistics show 212 datasets that use the vocabulary at, and the number of instances of usage. I did some "back of the envelope" counts on what types of organizations or projects use the terms, and also the type of use. By these calculations, the highest use was from libraries (> 60%). The next highest use was in a single language study called Semantic Quran (~10%). Third was the use in government data at less than 1%.

If one looks at the type of data, bibliographic data makes up nearly 90% of the usage. In this category I included archives, eprint repositories, and a few databases of videos and teaching materials.

From this one might conclude that dcterms isn't used much outside of the bibliographic world, but in fact traditional libraries provide only 28 of the 212 datasets on this list. The range of users and uses is impressive. Here are a few to peak your interest:
  • Southampton University has a number of datasets of civic information, including a list of bus stops.
  • There is a biomedical data service called eagle-i used by 24 universities or departments that provides information on specimens, reagents and services. This contributes nearly 500,000 instance of dcterms usage.
  • The New York Times linked data service uses dcterms. This service consists of topics (persons, organizations, locations, topics) covered by the newspaper.
  • I've mentioned the Semantic Quran. This is a linguistic database consisting of 43 translations of the Quran. It contributes over 6 million instances of dcterms use.
  • There is government data covering a wide range of topic areas. By my estimate there are at least 70 sets of government data in this compilation (including international), with everything from the aforementioned bus stops to election data, patents, economic indicators and scientific information.
If one is to make conclusions from this evidence, it could be said that the dcterms vocabulary is a core vocabulary for the description of intellectual resources, such as the holdings of libraries and archives, but that it also provides functionality for a wide range of data types. 

There are also users of the original Dublin Core vocabulary, now referred to as "1.1". I will cover that usage next.

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