DCAT Application Profile for data portals in Europe
Specification describing public sector datasets
- Make the data easily searchable and discoverable in many languages for the highest number of data consumers possible.
- Improve the information provided by data owners on their datasets with a minimum set of mandatory information (e.g. title for the dataset).
The DCAT Application Profile for data portals (DCAT-AP) is a specification based on the Data Catalogue vocabulary (DCAT). DCAT-AP provides a common specification for describing public sector datasets in Europe to enable the exchange of descriptions of datasets among data portals.
The DCAT-AP makes the following possible:
- Data catalogues owners and data publishers can describe their dataset collections using a standardised description, while keeping their own system for documenting and storing them.
- Content aggregators, such as the European Data Portal, can aggregate such descriptions into a single point of access.
- Data consumers can more easily find datasets from a single point of access.
DCAT-AP has an extension GeoDCAT-AP for describing geospatial datasets, dataset series and services.
Another extension StatDCAT-AP aims to deliver specifications and tools that enhance interoperability between descriptions of statistical data sets within the statistical domain and between statistical data and open data portals.
DCAT-AP and its extensions were created and are maintained in an open process with dedicated Working Groups and public reviews.
Read the paper on DCAT-AP Towards an open government data ecosystem in Europe using common standards.
Read the analysis of the DCAT-AP extensions.
Watch the StatDCAT-AP video.
More about the SEMIC action
Visit the semantic interoperability action page.
Visit the Joinup collection for the SEMIC action.
Difi, Norway: "DCAT-AP is the core model for describing and exchanging descriptions of public sector datasets in Norway. It ensures interoperability between data portals and a common ground for describing datasets across public sector domains. It’s also a useful tool for information governance purposes within public sector organisations. Norway is building a national common data catalogue based on DCAT-AP including public, restricted and non-public datasets. The project is one of the actions taken to increase government-to-government reuse and to achieve the once only principle. DCAT-AP with its linked data approach, has been vital for this project."
Øystein Åsnes, Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi)
European Data Portal: "The European Data Portal makes data available and reusable across Europe. This is done by harvesting metadata from the Member States’ data portals and making them available and searchable through the European Data Portal. Unfortunately, the format and structure of metadata differ from portal to portal. This problem can be addressed by making use of a single, harmonised model, the DCAT-AP specification, which has been developed by the European Commission."
Daniele Rizzi, DG Connect
German Data Portal: "The German Data Portal GovData.de had developed its own metadata standard prior to the establishment of DCAT-AP. Faced with necessary improvements to the standard after several years of operation, GOVData's steering committee voted for the implementation of a specification fully-compliant with DCAT-AP in order to enhance interoperability with other national and pan-European open data portals. We also felt that adopting DCAT-AP meant that we could profit from the lessons learned in other implementations and that working jointly with other European partners would make maintaining and improving the standard so much easier."
Dietmar Gattwinkel, Free State of Saxony and Christian Horn, GovData Business Office
European Union Open Data Portal: "The use of an international standard for metadata publishing is crucial for interoperability of data portals and harmonisation of data coming from different sources. DCAT-AP is not overcomplicated, allows sufficient flexibility but at the same time covers the most essential metadata requirements. It also corresponds to the modern technological challenges and is an indispensable element for moving towards trustful linked open data."
Agnieszka Zajac, Publications Office of the EU
Andrea Perego, DG JRC
- The Belgian Federal Public Service for ICT with the Belgian open data portal
- The Belgian Federal Public Service for ICT with the command line RDF validator with built-in ruleset for DCAT-AP 1.1
- Open Knowledge Belgium with DCAT-BE
- CKAN with the DCAT harvester
- The Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations with the Dutch open data portal
- The Open Data Portal of Switzerland with the Geocat CKAN Harvester
- The European Commission DG CONNECT with the open data support DCAT-AP validator
- The Spanish Ministry of Finance and Civil Service with the Technical interoperability standard for data models
- The Irish Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with the Irish open data portal
- The Swiss Federal Archives with the Swiss open data portal
- The Swedish innovation agency VINNOVA and the Swedish national data portal
- The Swedish innovation agency VINNOVA and the DCAT-AP manager
- The Swedish MetaSolutions and the DCAT-AP validator for oppnadata.se
- The Swedish MetaSolutions and the EntryScape Catalog
- The Belgian city of Ghent and its open data portal
- The Italian Digital Agency (AGID) with DCAT-AP_IT
- The Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (DIFI) with the Norwegian open data portal
- Open Data Soft with the open data solution
- The German Geoportal Rhineland Palatinate SDI with the GeoPortal
- The European Commission's Joint Research Centre with INSPIRE GeoDCAT-AP Sandbox
- We Connect Data with the DataTank
- The European Commission's ISA² programme with the convertor of ISO19139 records into GeoDCAT-AP (GeoDCAT-API)
The DCAT Application Profile has been implemented by over 15 data portals across Europe such as the European Data Portal which provides a catalogue of more than 769 000 datasets compliant with metadata standards. The number of data portals aligned with DCAT-AP is growing, e.g. Germany decided in 2017 to harmonise its data model with DCAT-AP.