contact point for datasets #1472

ldodds opened this Issue Jan 9, 2017 · 8 comments


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ldodds commented Jan 9, 2017

I'm looking at how to describe some ONS datasets using the new Dataset term. Here's an example.

Every dataset has a public contact point, which is a member of staff who can help with questions relating to the dataset. None of the existing properties seem to cover this.

The person isn't necessarily the author, creator, editor, etc of the dataset. While they could arguably a described as a contactPoint for the Organisation publishing the dataset, in this case the named person isn't a general point of contact for the whole ONS, just for 1 or more datasets.

Perhaps datasets should have a contactPoint?

Or is there a general property that could be used which I'm missing?

darobin commented Jan 9, 2017

Yes, that would indeed be interesting. We considered using accountablePerson for that but rejected it as the legal bit seems restrictive.


We had pretty much the same requirement for describing Legislation (#1156), where we wanted to encode the person/service/ministry to reach if someone has a question on a particular law; this is not necessarily the service who wrote the initial law, neither a global contactPoint for that organisation. We ended up adding a custom property "legislationResponsible".

ldodds commented Jan 10, 2017

I realised today that DCAT has contact point, so given is following it as a model, it seems worth adding. It's a recommendation property in the DCAT application profile for EU data portals

mfenner commented Jan 11, 2017

@ldodds one idea would be to use the existing contributor property and provide the type of that contributor. We use this pattern with DataCite metadata for datasets and ContactPerson is one possible contributorType. We also have contributorType DataCurator which I am sure will also be requested for Dataset.

ldodds commented Jan 12, 2017

@mfenner these contacts aren't necessarily a contributor, its a named contact in the statistical office who is the primary person to contact for questions about the dataset. A type contributor could work, but doesn't seem quite right. As DCAT already supports it and its recommended by the DCAT-AP I'd vote for just adding the existing property.

@danbri I've been testing this out in the Structured Data Tool which does warn about this not currently being allowed. Although it also tells me that a contactType must be one of the legal values, but I can't see those documented anywhere.

mfenner commented Jan 12, 2017

@ldodds For DataCite a contributor is an organization or person involved with the generation or maintenance of a dataset, but is not an author/creator. I think Dublin Core uses this concept similarly.

Maybe it is a better fit for how works to have a ContactPerson class, either as subclass of Person or as subclass of contributor. I would also add DataCurator, a Person tasked with reviewing, enhancing, cleaning, or standardizing metadata and the associated data.

danbri commented Jan 12, 2017

At some point in DC, contributor was considered a more general superproperty of 'creator' and 'publisher'. Am on a plane so can't check right now.

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