The Profiles Vocabulary is an RDF vocabulary to describe profiles of (one or more) standards for information resources. It describes the general pattern of narrowing the scope of a specification with additional, but consistent, constraints, and is particularly relevant to data exchange situations where conformance to such profiles is expected and carries additional context. The Profiles Vocabulary enables profile descriptions to specify the role of resources related to data exchange such as schemas, ontologies, rules about use of controlled vocabularies, validation tools, and guidelines. The ontology may however be used to describe the role of artifacts in any situation where constraints are made on a the usage of more general specifications.

The namespace for PROF terms is http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/.
The PROF vocabulary, defined in OWL and encoded in RDF Turtle, is available at profilesont.ttl.

This Second Public Working Draft addresses many, but not all, of the comments received on the First Public Working Draft of this vocabulary that was released in December, 2018. There are also some key issues still being discussed within the working group, such as what it means to be a profile of something, the relationships between profiles, and how and whether inheritance is included in the specification. See for more change details and the GitHub issues below for further information on outstanding issues.

Overview of DXWG documents on profiles

This document is part of a set of documents on profiles, edited by the W3C Dataset Exchange Working Group (DXWG). Some of the documents are general while some are technology-specific:


This Profiles Vocabulary provides a structure to describe profiles of information standards. Its development was triggered by the appearance of multiple profiles of the Dataset Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT) [[VOCAB-DCAT-20140116]] and examples of profiles including the Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles [[DCAP]] and various profiles of OpenGeospatial Consortium specifications.

The Profiles Vocabulary is an RDF vocabulary to describe the resources that define and implement a profile. A profile is defined as "A named set of constraints on one or more identified base specifications or other profiles, including the identification of any implementing subclasses of datatypes, semantic interpretations, vocabularies, options and parameters of those base specifications necessary to accomplish a particular function." These resources may be human-readable documents (PDFs, textual documents), vocabularies or ontologies (XSD, RDF), resources specific to validation tools (SHACL, ShEx, Schematron), or any other files or resources that support the profile. Each resource is defined as having a role that defines its function within the profile.

This vocabulary also provides for the description of relationships between such profiles and the standards to which they conform. A standard in this case can be a vocabulary or it can be another profile from which the described profile is a derivation, expansion, or selection. This vocabulary provides a standardized, machine readable formalism for describing the context of profiles. The basis of this vocabulary is a specialization of dct:Standard, allowing the use of the dct:conformsTo predicate to specify conformance to a profile.

A "profile" here is represented by the Profile class definition in the Vocabulary Specification with the following definition: "A named set of constraints on one or more identified base specifications or other profiles, including the identification of any implementing subclasses of datatypes, semantic interpretations, vocabularies, options and parameters of those base specifications necessary to accomplish a particular function."

Profiles aim to increase interoperability within a community of users by introducing certain constraints on the use of a more general standard such as a published vocabulary. Such constraints include restrictions on the cardinality of certain properties, or a requirement to select values of a property from a specified controlled vocabulary. Profiles have generally been specified through textually-oriented documents, and/or platform specific constraint languages.

A vocabulary of Resource Role instances is provided in Section 8.

For the purpose of compliance, the normative sections of this document are Section 6 Conceptual Model, Section 7 Vocabulary Specification & Section 9 Test Suite.

Notational Conventions

The key words may, must, must not, optional, shall, shall not, should, should not, recommended, required, in this document are to be interpreted as described in [[RFC2119]].


The namespace for PROF is http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/. However, it should be noted that PROF makes use of terms from other vocabularies, in particular Dublin Core [[!DCTERMS]]. PROF itself only defines a minimal set of classes and properties of its own.

A full set of namespaces and prefixes used in this document is shown in the table below.

(others)All other namespace prefixes are used in examples only.
In particular, IRIs starting with "http://example.com" represent some application-dependent IRI [[RFC3987]]


Until this vocabulary's creation, there was no formal W3C method for describing the objects (Internet resources) related to profiles.

There are a multitude of ways to describe the components needed to define a profile and support validation of instances, such as:

Describing only the components within a profile via documents or constraint languages does not indicate many things either important or interesting to know about a profile such as:

With a mechanism to relate profiles to standards and other profiles, profile hierarchies can be established which will:

Motivating Requirements

For the purposes of dataset exchange and with the lack of a formal W3C method for describing the objects related to profiles, the DXWG underwent a process of Use Case and Requirements gathering. They established the Dataset Exchange Use Case and Requirements document (the UCR document) [[DCAT-UCR]] which groups requirements for profiles into the following sections:

This Profiles Vocabulary document addresses many of those Requirements - those that can be addressed by describing profile components and relations - and the Requirements as described in the UCR document link back to the Use Cases that motivated them.

Additionally, the UCR document lists a further profiles Requirements section: 6.14 Profile and content negotiation however Requirements there are addressed by the related [[PROF-CONNEG]] document.

Related Work

Conceptual Model

Vocabulary overview diagram
OWL [[OWL2-OVERVIEW]] overview diagram of this vocabulary

This vocabulary is for describing relationships between standards/specifications, profiles of them and supporting artifacts such as validating resources.

The model takes the dct:Standard Class as a starting point and defines a specialization, a Profile, which is a dct:Standard that profiles a dct:Standard or another Profile. Standardss or Profiles can have Resource Descriptors associated with them that define rules for implementation, provide guidance on how to implement, or play some other role. Resource Descriptors must indicate the role they play (to guide, to validate etc.), the formalism they adhere to (dct:format) and any dct:Standard that they themselves conform to (dct:conformsTo).

The remainder of this section is informative.

Initial Example

The example below illustrates the use of most parts of PROF and indicates how non-PROF profile metadata is stored alongside PROF metadata.

A full example profile described using common metadata and the Profiles Vocabulary
@prefix dct: <http://purl.org/dc/terms/> .
@prefix prof: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix role: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/role/> .
@prefix rdfs: <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .

<http://example.org/profile/x>  # a Profile; it's identifying URI
  a prof:Profile ;

  # common metadata for the Profile

  # the Profile's label
  rdfs:label "Profile X" ;

  # regular metadata, a basic description of the Profile
  rdfs:comment """This is a Profile of Dublin Core Terms used to describe items in
CSIRO's publications catalogue."""@en ;

  # regular metadata, URI of publisher
  dct:publisher <http://catalogue.linked.data.gov.au/org/O-000886> ;

  # PROF metadata

  # this is a profile of Dublin Core Terms, referenced by its namespace
  prof:isProfileOf <http://purl.org/dc/terms/> ;

  # this profile has a SHACL resource that constrains it's use of Dublin Core
  prof:hasResource [
    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;

    # it's in Turtle format
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatype/text/turtle> ;

    # it conforms to SHACL, here refered to by its namespace URI as a Profile
    dct:conformsTo <http://www.w3.org/ns/shacl#> ;

    # this resource plays the role of "Validation"
    # described in this ontology's accompanying Roles vocabulary
    prof:hasRole role:Validation ;

    # this resource's actual file
    prof:hasArtifact <http://example.org/profile/x/resource/validator.ttl>
  ] ;

  # other resources this profile contains
  prof:hasResource ... ;

  # a short code to refer to the Profile with when a URI can't be used
  prof:hasToken "profx"

Roles Vocabulary

A starting point vocabulary of Resource Role instances that is expected to be extended by implementers of PROF to suite specialised needs is provided within this vocabulary in Section 8.

Vocabulary Specification

RDF representation

The PROF vocabulary is available in RDF. Alongside the primary artifact, there is a set of other RDF files that provide additional information, including:

  1. alignments to other vocabularies, some of which are normative, and others which are for guidance only
  2. additional axioms, which can be useful in some contexts
  3. validating graphs using [[SHACL]]

These other artifacts are linked to throughout this document.


This vocabulary makes use of [[DCTERMS]] properties conformsTo & format in its normative specification.

Class: Profile

OWL Classprof:Profile

A named set of constraints on one or more identified base specifications or other profiles, including the identification of any implementing subclasses of datatypes, semantic interpretations, vocabularies, options and parameters of those base specifications necessary to accomplish a particular function.

This definition includes what are often called "application profiles", "metadata application profiles", or "metadata profiles".

Sub class of:dct:Standard

Property: hasResource

RDF Property:prof:hasResource
OWL type:owl:ObjectProperty
Label:has resource
Definition:A resource which describes the nature of an artifact and the role it plays in relation to a profile

Property: isProfileOf

RDF Property:prof:isProfileOf
OWL type:owl:ObjectProperty
Label:is profile of
Definition:The subject of 'is profile of' defines constraints on the object which playes the role of a base specification
Usage Note:A Profile may define constraints on the usage of one or more specifications. All constraints of these specifications are inherited, in the sense that an object conforming to a profile conforms to all the constraints specified the targets of prof:isProfileOf relations. This property is optional, allowing any specification to be declared at the root of a profile hierarchy using the Profile class

Property: isTransitiveProfileOf

RDF Property:prof:isTransitiveProfileOf
OWL type:owl:ObjectProperty
Label:is a transitive profile of
Definition:A specification for which this Profile defines constraints, possibly through a chain of isProfileOf relationships
Usage note:This is a convenience predicate that may be used to declare all specifications (including profiles) that the subject profile requires an information resource to conform to. This avoids forcing clients to traverse a profile hierarchy to find all conformance implications and available resources. If present all such relationships should be present so a client can safely avoid hierarchy traversal

The property prof:isTransitiveProfileOf defined here performs a role similar to that of the property skos:broaderTransitive defined in [[SKOS-REFERENCE]]. That property "...allows communities of practice to exploit transitive interpretations of hierarchical networks..." while freeing the simpler hierarchy property of skos:broader from having to enforce transitivity which would prevent broader but non-transitive relationships.

Figure 4.5.2 from [[SKOS-PRIMER]], reproduced below, illustrates the general principle of use of skos:broaderTransitive.

Inferring a transitive hierarchy from asserted skos:broader statements. Dotted arrows represent statements inferred from the SKOS data model. Solid arrows represent asserted statements. Reproduction of Figure 4.5.2 in [[SKOS-PRIMER]]

This vocabulary defines prof:isTransitiveProfileOf to allow for the transitive interpretations of hierarchies of Profiles (of other Profiles and Standards) while freeing the simpler property, prof:isProfileOf from having to enforce transitivity.

While this vocabulary provides this prof:isProfileOf & prof:isTransitiveProfileOf pair of properties, it does not specify how a particular implementation of a Profile that is related to another Profile or Standard by prof:isTransitiveProfileOf should implement specific inferences.

Inference based on prof:isTransitiveProfileOf will be more complex than inference based on skos:broaderTransitive due to Profiles being complex objects relative to SKOS Concepts.

Property isTransitiveProfileOf in use. See the full explanation in the example text below.
# A profile that is within a hierarchy of profiles may wish to indicate it profiles
# things "further up the chain". To do this, prof:isTransitiveProfileOf can be used
# to indicate anything the profile is related to by a series of one or more
# prof:isProfileOf properties.

# Here the New Zealand profile of the ISO addressing standard is presented in a chain
# of profiles:

@prefix dct: <http://purl.org/dc/terms/> .
@prefix prof: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix role: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/role/> .
@prefix rdfs: <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .

  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "New Zealand Profile of ISO19160-1" ;
  rdfs:comment """This is a country-specific profile of the international
                  addressing standard, ISO19160-1:2015 (Address)""" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <http://linked.data.gov.au/def/iso19160-1-address> .

# The ISO thing that the NZ Profile profiles is actually a Web Ontology Language
# (OWL) version of the original ISO addressing standard
  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "OWL Profile of ISO19160-1" ;
  rdfs:comment """This profile profiles both ISO19160-1 (Addressing) and also
                  the Web Ontology Language (OWL)""" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <https://www.iso.org/standard/61710.html> ,
                   <http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#> .

  a dct:Standard ;
  rdfs:label "ISO 19160-1:2015 Addressing -- Part 1: Conceptual model" .

# Now, according to the semantics of prof:isTransitiveProfileOf, using the
# prof:isProfileOf statements above, one can infer the following additional
# statements:

  prof:isTransitiveProfileOf <http://linked.data.gov.au/def/iso19160-1-address> ,
                             <https://www.iso.org/standard/61710.html> ,
                             <http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#> .

# These statements may help consumers understand which broad, well-known
# profiles data they have conforms to when they are presented only with its
# conformance to most specialised (lowest) profile in a hierarchy which they
# may not understand.

# In this example too, a user of the profile
# <http://linked.data.gov.au/def/iso19160-1-address-nz-profile> will also
# understand that data conforming to it is also conformant with OWL which is not
# in the direct hierarchy of addressing standards (iso19160-1-address-nz-profile >
# iso19160-1-address > ISO 19160-1:2015) but is critical to know about when using
# the specialised standard as it can indicate reasoning possibilities.

Property: hasToken

RDF Property:prof:hasToken
OWL type:owl:DatatypeProperty
Label:has token
Definition:A preferred alternative identifier for the Profile
Usage note:A simple lexical form of identifier that may be accepted in some circumstances, such as API arguments to reference this profile. This is a “preferred term”, since alternative identifiers may be declared and used by any implementation

Class: ResourceDescriptor

OWL Classprof:ResourceDescriptor
Label:Resource Descriptor
Definition:A resource that defines an aspect - a particular part or feature - of a Profile
Usage note:Used to indicate the formalism (via dct:format) and any adherence to a dct:Standard (via dct:conformsTo) to allow for machine mediation as well as its purpose via relation to a ResourceRole (via hasRole)

Property: hasArtifact

RDF Property:prof:hasArtifact
Label:has artifact (resource)
Definition:The URL of a downloadable file with particulars such as its format and role indicated by a Resource Descriptor
Usage Note:A property to link from a Resource Descriptor to an actual resource (rdfs:Resource; an individual) that implements it

Property: dct:conformsTo

This property's details are from the [[DCTERMS]] specification.

RDF Property:dct:conformsTo
Label:Conforms To
Definition:An established standard to which the described resource conforms
Sub property of:dc:relation, dct:relation

Property: dct:format

This property's details are from the [[DCTERMS]] specification.

RDF Property:dct:format
Definition:The file format, physical medium, or dimensions of the resource
Sub property of:dc:format

Property: hasRole

RDF Property:prof:hasRole
Label:has role
Definition:The function of the described artifact in the expression of the Profile, such as a specification, guidance documentation, SHACL file etc.
Usage note:A set of common roles are defined by the Profiles Vocabulary. These are not exhaustive or disjoint, and may be extended for situations where finer grained description of purpose is necessary. A resource may perform multiple roles

Property: isInheritedFrom

RDF Property:prof:isInheritedFrom
Label:is inherited from
Definition:This property indicates a Resource Descriptor described by this Profile’s base specification that is to be considered a Resource Descriptor for this Profile also
Usage note:This property is created for the convenience of clients. When profile describers wish to allow clients to discover all resources relevant to a Profile without having to navigating an inheritance hierarchy of prof:profileOf relations, this predicate may be used to directly associate inherited Profile Descriptors with the Profile. If this property is present, it should be used consistently and all relevant resources a client may need to utilise the profile should be present and described using this predicate

To illustrate the use of prof:isInheritedFrom, the following example is given in both pictorial and code forms.

Property isInheritedFrom in use. Here the prof:ResourceDescriptor instance Profile Y, Resource Descriptor 2 refers to the same artifact (a constraints file) as Standard X, Resource Descriptor 1 and it is inherited by Profile Y from Standard X which Profile Y is a profile of.
# If Standard X, described using PROF, is given as having a Resource
# Descriptor, RD_1, with role "Full Constraints" as follows:

@prefix ex1: <http://example.org/profile1/> .
@prefix ex2: <http://example.org/profile2/> .
@prefix dct: <http://purl.org/dc/terms/> .Property isInheritedFrom in use.
@prefix prof: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix role: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/role/> .

    a dct:Standard ;
    dct:title "Standard X" ;
    prof:hasResource ex1:RD_1 .

    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    dct:conformsTo <http://www.w3.org/ns/shacl#> ;  # the SHACL standard
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatype/text/turtle> ;  # the RDF Turtle format
    prof:hasRole role:fullConstraints ;      # this ResourceDescriptor is the total set of
                                             # constraints needed for validating data
                                             # against Standard X for conformance
    prof:hasArtifact ex1:constraints.ttl .

# then, a profile of Standard X, perhaps Profile Y, may use
# prof:isInheritedFrom to re-use that Resource Descriptor RD_1

    a prof:Profile ;
    dct:title "Profile Y" ;
    prof:isProfileOf ex1:Standard_X ;  # this is a profile of Standard X
    prof:hasResource [
        a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;  # Resource Descriptor 2 in diagram
        prof:isInheritedFrom ex1:Standard_X ;  # this Resource Descriptor is inherited from
                                               # Standard X
        dct:conformsTo <http://www.w3.org/ns/shacl#> ;  # as above
        dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatype/text/turtle> ;  # as above
        prof:hasRole role:partConstraints ;  # this ResourceDescriptor is now only Part Constraints
                                             # for Profile Y as it's implementing some of its own,
                                             # additional constraints (see next Resource Descriptor)
        prof:hasArtifact ex1:constraints.ttl  # direct URI reference to ex1:RD_1's artifact
    ] ,
        a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;  # Resource Descriptor 2 in diagram. This is not inherited from anywhere
        dct:conformsTo <http://www.w3.org/ns/shacl#> ;
        dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatype/text/turtle> ;
        # these constraints are Profile Y's on top of Standard X's
        prof:hasRole role:extensionConstraints ;  # Extension Constraints are those on top of
                                                  # another base specification's
        prof:hasArtifact ex2:extension_constraints.ttl  # a file within this Profile
    ] .

Class: ResourceRole

OWL Classprof:ResourceRole
Label:Resource Role
Definition:The role that an Resource plays
Sub class of:skos:Concept
Usage note:Specific terms must come from a vocabulary. Such a vocabulary is provided in but other terms may also be used

Resource Role Instances

Here are a small set of Resource Role Instances developed during the creation of this vocabulary. Application may choose to extend this list as required with new and specialised Resource Role instances for their purposes.

These instances are both owl:NamedIndividuals and skos:Concepts and have basic SKOS [[SKOS-REFERENCE]] properties.

Resource Role: Constraints

SKOS Concept role:constraints
Pref Label:Constraints
Definition:Descriptions of obligations, limitations or extensions that the profile defines
Usage Note:Use this Role when you want to indicate the constraints that the associated Profile imposes on to of base specifications

Resource Role: Example

SKOS Concept role:example
Pref Label:Example
Definition:Sample instance data conforming to the profile
Usage Note:Use this Role when you want to provide instances of data conforming to the profile to inform users

Resource Role: Guidance

SKOS Concept role:guidance
Pref Label:Guidance
Definition:Documents, in human-readable form, how to use the profile
Usage Note:Many existing profiles treat their human-readable forms (PDF documents etc.) as authoritative. This role is suggestive of non-authoritativeness. For a role for a human-readable resource that is authoritative, see Specification.

Resource Role: Mapping

SKOS Concept role:mapping
Pref Label:Mapping
Definition:Describes conversions between two specifications
This Role may necessitate the introduction to PROF of mappingFrom and mappingTo properties.

Resource Role: Schema

SKOS Concept role:schema
Pref Label:Schema
Alternate Label:Shape, Structure
Definition:Machine-readable structural descriptions of data defined by the profile

Resource Role: Specification

SKOS Concept role:specification
Pref Label:Specification
Definition:Defining the profile in human-readable form
Usage Note:This role indicates authoritativeness. For a role for a human-readable resource that is not authoritative, see Guidance

Resource Role: Validation

SKOS Concept role:validation
Pref Label:Validation
Definition:Supplies instructions about how to verify conformance of data to the profile
Usage Note:This role implies inclusion or import of inherited constraints

Resource Role: Vocabulary

SKOS Concept role:vocabulary
Pref Label:Vocabulary
Definition:Defines terms used in the profile specification


This section contains a few examples of PROF in use to demonstrate aspects of this vocabulary. While efforts have been made to ensure they are accurate at the time of this document's publication, they are not to be considered authoritative; their purpose is only to illustrate this vocabulary's use.


This example showcases this vocabulary's description of parts of an existing, well-known, profile.

DCAT-AP is the widely used European Application Profile of DCAT. DCAT-AP is described in document form (PDF & DOCX) and a constraints resource for instance validation is available, formulated using the W3C's Shapes Constraints Language constraints language [[SHACL]]. An image of the DCAT-AP model is also provided.

The figure uses elements from this vocabulary to describe part of the DCAT-AP Profile graphically - PDF & RDF resources only - to simplify the example.

Part of the DCAT-AP Profile described using this ontology. Here two two Resource Descriptors are shown relating to the Profile indicating resources with "Guidance" and "Constraints" roles.

In words this vocabulary's descriptions of DCAT-AP is:

In RDF (turtle format), DCAT-AP is described using the Profiles Vocabulary, with many properties not listed in the summary figure and description above as:

@prefix dc:    <http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/> .
@prefix prof:  <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix role:  <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/role/> .
@prefix rdfs:  <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .

  a prof:Profile ;
  prof:hasToken "dcat-ap" ;
  rdfs:label "DCAT-AP" ;
  rdfs:comment "DCAT Application Profile for data portals in Europe" ;
  dc:publisher "European Union" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <http://www.w3.org/ns/dcat> ;

  # SHACL constraints for the profile, guidance doc in Word & PDF & an image of the profile components
    # Guidance doc in Word (DOCX)
    <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/rdf_entity/http_e_f_fdata_ceuropa_ceu_fw21_f6f27f059_bf785_b4d7d_bb602_b6448aab73bd5> ,
    # Guidance doc in PDF
    <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/rdf_entity/http_e_f_fdata_ceuropa_ceu_fw21_f17e18570_b1d77_b4171_b9df5_bb53cb4f017d4> ,
    # profile image (PNG)
    <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/rdf_entity/http_e_f_fdata_ceuropa_ceu_fw21_f1131a208_b92e9_b4427_ba40c_b6c47746cd422> ,
    # Constraints in SHACL  
    <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/rdf_entity/http_e_f_fdata_ceuropa_ceu_fw21_f016d88c3_ba0b3_b4506_bae4e_b758e7401c096> ;

# The DCAT-AP profile itself has profiles: here GeoDCAT-AP v1.0 is given
  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "GeoDCAT-AP" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/release/dcat-ap-v11> ;

  a prof:ResourceDescriptor;
	rdfs:label "DCAT-AP Guidance Document (Word)" ;
	dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatype/application/msword> ;
	prof:hasRole role:Guidance ;

  a prof:ResourceDescriptor;
	rdfs:label "DCAT-AP Guidance Document (PDF)" ;
	dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatype/application/pdf> ;
	prof:hasRole role:Guidance ;

  a prof:ResourceDescriptor;
	rdfs:label "DCAT-AP Image" ;
	dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatype/image/png> ;
	prof:hasRole role:Guidance ;
  a prof:ResourceDescriptor;
	rdfs:label "DCAT-AP Constraints" ;
	dct:conformsTo <http://www.w3.org/ns/shacl>; # the namespace for SHACL
	dct:format "text/turtle" ;
	prof:hasRole role:FullConstraints ;

DCAT-AP hierarchy

This example showcases this vocabulary being used to indicated profiles within a complex hierarchy.

DCAT-AP, a profile of DCAT, has itself been profiled for various European countries, such as Belgium who has issued DCAT-BE. Additionally, there are several domain profiles of DCAT-AP, such as [[GeoDCAT-AP]] - for describing geospatial datasets, dataset series and services - and [[StatDCAT-AP]] for enhancing interoperability between descriptions of statistical datasets. Further to this, there is even an Italian profile of GeoDCAT-AP, GeoDCAT-AP_IT.

This profile hierarchy is represented graphically in the figure and RDF (turtle) below.

DCAT-AP and related profiles in a hierarchy
DCAT-AP and related profiles in a hierarchy. The Profile labelled '?' shows a potential future profile instance that profiles both DCAT-BE & StatDCAT-AP.
@prefix prof: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix rdfs: <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .

  a dct:Standard ;

  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "DCAT-AP" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <http://www.w3.org/ns/dcat> ;

  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "DCAT-BE" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/release/dcat-ap-v11> ;

  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "GeoDCAT-AP" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/release/dcat-ap-v11> ;

  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "StatDCAT-AP" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/release/dcat-ap-v11> ;

  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "GeoDCAT-AP_IT" ;
  prof:isProfileOf <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/release/geodcat-ap-v10> ;

# an example as per the Figure above, not an existing profile
  a prof:Profile ;
  rdfs:label "?" ;
      <https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/solution/statdcat-application-profile-data-portals-europ> ,
      <http://dcat.be> .

Since there are no cardinality restrictions on either the property prof:isProfileOf or other restrictions on the class definition of prof:Profile that prevent them from being used to represent polyhierarchies, Belgium could release a profile of [[StatDCAT-AP]] (e.g., StatDCAT-BE), that would be both a profile of DCAT-BE and [[StatDCAT-AP]]. This imagined profile, '?' in the figure above, would not be a profile of GeoDCAT-AP.

CSIRO Dummy Dublin Core AP

This example uses a dummy profile created for this document to show how PROF describes profiles created according to the Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles [[DCAP]].

The DCAP Guidelines document "explains the key components of a Dublin Core Application Profile and walks through the process of developing a profile". It "does not address the creation of machine-readable implementations of an application profile" which is what PROF does.

In this example, a dummy profile of Dublin Core TERMS [[DCTERMS]] is created to characterise documents in a hypothetical "ePublish" platform. The dummy profile contains many parts:

CSIRO Dummy DCAP Profile
CSIRO Dummy DCAP Profile characterised using PROF. Only two of the four Resource Descriptors in the RDF below are shown.
#   This document is a description, according to the Profiles Vocabulary (see https://www.w3.org/TR/dx-prof/)
#   of a dummy "CSIRO ePublish Repository" profile of the Dubline Core standard. This profile is known as a DCAP -
#   Dublin Core Application Profile
#   See http://dublincore.org/documents/profile-guidelines/ for more information about Dublin Core Application Profiles
@prefix dct: <http://purl.org/dc/terms/> .
@prefix xsd: <http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#> .
@prefix prof: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix rdfs: <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .
@prefix role: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/role/> .

# Base Specification being profiled
<http://dublincore.org/documents/2012/06/14/dcmi-terms/> a dct:Standard ;
    rdfs:label "DCMI Metadata Terms" .

# dummy CSIRO profile of DC for ePublish repository
# URIs not dereferencable
    a                 prof:Profile ;
    rdfs:label        "CSIRO's profile of DC for ePublish" ;
    prof:isProfileOf    <http://dublincore.org/documents/2012/06/14/dcmi-terms/> ;
    prof:token        "ePubDC"^^xsd:Token ;
    prof:hasResource  _:1 , _:2 , _:3 , _:4 .

# example's code repository home
    a                 prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label        "Profile Specifcation" ;
    dct:format        <https://w3id.org/mediatype/text/html> ;
    # the official written text specifying the Profile
    prof:hasRole      role:Specification ;
    prof:hasArtifact  <http://linked.data.gov.au/def/CSIRO-ePub-DCAP/> .

# this is an RDF (turtle) version of the DSP constraints for this profile
    a                 prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label        "Full constraints in RDF" ;
    dct:conformsTo    <http://dublincore.org/documents/2008/03/31/dc-dsp/> ; # the constraints conform to the DSP spec
    dct:format        <https://w3id.org/mediatype/text/turtle> ; # it's in Turtle format
    # this is full constraints: if your instance passes these, you're compliant with the profile
    prof:hasRole      role:Constraints ;
    prof:hasArtifact  <http://test.linked.data.gov.au/test/def/CSIRO-ePub-DCAP/constraints.ttl> .

    a                 prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label        "Full constraints in DSP constraint language" ;
    dct:conformsTo    <http://dublincore.org/documents/2008/03/31/dc-dsp/> ; # the constraints conform to the DSP spec
    dct:format        <https://w3id.org/mediatype/text/plain> ; # it's in plain text format
    # this is full constraints: if your instance passes these, you're compliant with the profile
    prof:hasRole      role:Constraints ;
    prof:hasArtifact  <http://test.linked.data.gov.au/test/def/CSIRO-ePub-DCAP/constraints-dcap-syntax.txt> .

# this resource is a PDF file in the def about how to use the CSIRO-ePub-DCAP
    a                 prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label        "Guidance document" ;
    dct:format        <https://w3id.org/mediatype/application/pdf> ;
    # general guidance info on how to use/implement this Profile
    prof:hasRole      role:Guidance ;
    prof:hasArtifact <http://test.linked.data.gov.au/test/def/CSIRO-ePub-DCAP/HowTo.pdf> .

This DCAP example shows, among other things, that a Profile may contain multiple Resource Descriptor individuals that perform the same Resource Role (here Constraints) that are differentiated on other bases, here on format: plain text & RDF (turtle).

Geoscience Australia's Profile of ISO19115-1:2014

This example shows a non-RDF profile of a non-RDF standard: ISO19115-1:2014 (Geographic information) [[ISO-19115-1-2014]].

Communities commonly make profiles of the International Organization for Standardization's standard ISO19115-1:2014 Geographic information -- Metadata -- Part 1: Fundamentals used for cataloguing spatial datasets. Geoscience Australia, Australia's national geological survey agency, has created a profile that constrains ISO19115-1:2014 in ways such as making optional properties in the standard mandatory for profile conformance.

The GA Profile of ISO19115 is published online as a collection of resources with an index document with the persistent URI http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/def/schema/ga/ISO19115-1-2014.

Although not initially formulated with PROF in mind, nevertheless the various parts of the GA Profile of ISO19115 can be characterised using PROF as per and the example RDF below. Note that the persistent URIs assigned to the profile by Geoscience Australia are used within the PROF description.

GA Profile of ISO19115 in PROF
The GA Profile of ISO19115 characterised using PROF.
@prefix : <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/examples/ga.ttl#> .
@prefix prof: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix roles: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/roles/> .
@prefix rdfs: <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .
@prefix dct: <http://purl.org/dc/terms/> .
@prefix dc: <http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/> .
@prefix owl: <http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#> .
@prefix dcat: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dcat#> .
@prefix xsd: <http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#> .

    a dct:Standard ;
    rdfs:label "ISO ISO19115-1:2014" ;
    rdfs:comment "The international standard ISO19115-1:2014 Geographic information - Metadata" ;
    dc:publisher "International Organization for Standardization" ;
    dct:source <https://www.iso.org/standard/53798.html>

    a prof:Profile ;
    prof:token "iso19115-ga" ;
    rdfs:label "ISO19115-1:2014 GA Profile";
    rdfs:comment """Provides a means to declare, and discover implementation resources to check, implementations of geographic metadata schema conforming to GA's profile."""@en;
    dct:publisher <http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/org/ga/geoscienceaustralia> ;
    prof:profileOf :ISO19115-1-2014 ;
    prof:hasResource :web , :spec , :schema , :constraints ;

    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label "GA Profile guidance document online" ;
    prof:hasRole roles:guidance ;
    dct:conformsTo :WebPage ;
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatypes/text/html> ;
    prof:hasArtifact <http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/def/schema/ga/ISO19115-1-2014> ;

    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label "GA Profile specification document";
    prof:hasRole roles:specification ;
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatypes/application/pdf> ;
    prof:hasArtifact <http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/dataset/ga/122551> ;

    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label "GA Profile XML Schema";
    prof:hasRole roles:specification ;
    dct:conformsTo :XSDSchema ;
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatypes/text/xml> ;
    prof:hasArtifact <http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/def/schema/ga/ISO19115-3-2016/gapm.xsd> ;

    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label "GA Profile Schematron" ;
    prof:hasRole roles:fullConstraints ;
    dct:conformsTo :Schematron ;
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatypes/text/xml> ;
    prof:hasArtifact <http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/def/schema/ga/schematron-rules-ga.sch> ;

:WebPage a dct:MediaTypeOrExtent ;
    rdfs:label "Web Page" ;
    rdfs:comment "A document written in HyperText Markup Language designed for human reading via a web browser." ;
    dct:source <https://www.w3.org/html/> ;

:Schematron a dct:MediaTypeOrExtent ;
    rdfs:label "Schematron" ;
    rdfs:comment "A language for making assertions about the presence or absence of patterns in XML documents." ;
    dct:source <http://schematron.com> ;

Asset Description Metadata Schema

This example shows a Profile, some of whose Resource Descriptors conform to standards.

The Asset Description Metadata Schema (ADMS) [[VOCAB-ADMS]] is a profile of DCAT, used to describe semantic assets. Both ADMS the Profile and two of its Resource Descriptors are published according to W3C specifications for Recommendations and Working Group Notes.

ADMS profile of DCAT
The ADMS profile of DCAT.
@prefix : <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/examples/adms.ttl#> .
@prefix prof: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/> .
@prefix roles: <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/roles/> .
@prefix rdfs: <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .
@prefix dct: <http://purl.org/dc/terms/> .
@prefix owl: <http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#> .

#   A series of standards defined in this examples document
  rdf:type dct:Standard ;
  rdfs:label "W3C Working Group Note Document" ;

  rdf:type dct:Standard ;
  rdfs:label "W3C Recommendation Document" ;

#   ADMS, described as a profile of DCAT (original)
    a prof:Profile ;
    rdfs:label "ADMS" ;
    # this URI is for DCAT (original) as defined in the DCAT examples
    prof:profileOf <http://www.w3.org/ns/dx/prof/examples/dcat.ttl#dcat2014> ;
    prof:hasResource :ADMS-note ,
                     :ADMS-rdf ,

    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label "ADMS specification document" ;
    prof:hasRole roles:specification ;
    dct:conformsTo prof:W3Cnote ;
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatypes/text/html> ;
    prof:hasArtifact <https://www.w3.org/TR/vocab-adms/> ;

    a prof:ResourceDescriptor ;
    rdfs:label "ADMS RDF vocabulary" ;
    prof:hasRole roles:vocabulary ;
    dct:conformsTo <https://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-rdf-based-semantics/> ,
                   <https://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-schema/> ;
    dct:format <https://w3id.org/mediatypes/text/turtle> ;
    prof:hasArtifact <https://www.w3.org/ns/adms> ;

# additional information about DCAT (original) not present in the DCAT example
    dct:conformsTo :W3Crec .

Test Suite

A software suite is made available to test implementations of this vocabulary for compliance. This suite comprises of [[SHACL]] RDF graph validation templates and instructions for the application of those templates to implementations.


Implementation conformance reports for this vocabulary are given in:


This section lists alignments between PROF and other, related, ontologies.

Dataset Catalogue Vocabulary

PROF/DCAT relations are being addressed as a major part of PROF's Third Public Working Draft

PROF is considered a specialisation of the revised version of the Dataset Catalogue Vocabulary [[VOCAB-DCAT-2]] for the purpose of cataloguing profiles. With this in mind, the main PROF classes - Profile and Resource Descriptor - specialise (are sub classes of) DCAT's Resource and Distributions respectively. This alignment is not normative, but is provided as a recommended way to consider general metadata needs when describing profiles.

These specialisations are indicated in below as well as the data element mapping table that follows it.

Alignment of PROF with DCAT
Alignment of PROF with DCAT [[VOCAB-DCAT-2]].

The following table relates PROF and DCAT elements.

PROF elementMapping propertyDCAT elementNotes
prof:Profilerdfs:subClassOfdcat:Resourceprof:Profile is not a sub class of dcat:Dataset

While DCAT is referenced in the main PROF RDF file, the following separate RDF file contains just the mappings included in the table above too:

Asset Description Metadata Schema

The Asset Description Metadata Schema (ADMS) [[VOCAB-ADMS]] is a profile of DCAT, used to describe semantic assets. PROF is aligned with ADMS as per and table below.

Due to PROF being aligned with the revised version of DCAT and ADMS also being aligned with DCAT, classes and properties of the two vocabularies may be sensibly used beyond the mappings presented here. In particular the fact that both prof:Profile and adms:Asset are non-disjoint sub classes of dcat:Resource, albeit that the latter is such via being a sub class of dcat:Dataset which subclasses dcat:Resource, means that resources could easily be dually typed as being of both prof:Profile and adms:Asset.

Alignment of PROF with ADMS
Alignment of PROF with DCAT [[VOCAB-ADMS]].

The following table relates PROF and ADMS elements.

PROF elementMapping propertyADMS element

The following RDF file contains just the mappings included in the table above:

Dublin Core Terms

PROF makes use of Dublin Core Terms [[DCTERMS]] directly with the PROF class prof:Profile being a sub class of dct:Standard and two Dublin Core Terms properties, dct:format & dct:conformsTo being recommended within PROF for use in describing instances of the prof:ResourceDescriptor class.

PROF is aligned with Dublin Core Terms as per and table below.

Alignment of PROF with Dublin Core Terms
Alignment of PROF with Dublin Core Terms [[DCTERMS]].

The following table relates PROF and Dublin Core Terms elements.

PROF elementMapping propertyDCT element

While Dublin Core Terms is referenced in the main PROF RDF file, the following RDF file contains just the mappings included in the table above:

The Provenance Ontology

The Provenance Ontology [[PROV-O]] is used to represent and interchange provenance information.

Alignment of PROF with PROV-O will be addressed in PROF's Third Public Working Draft.

Web Ontology Language

PROF is a vocabulary formulated using the Web Ontology Language (OWL) [[OWL2-OVERVIEW]]. In addition to the basic modelling mechanics of PROF that use OWL, for example PROF classes being defined as owl:Class objects and PROF properties being OWL owl:ObjectProperty or other OWL property types, some of the core PROF modelling concepts relate to OWL ontology concepts.

PROF is aligned with OWL at a conceptual modelling level as per and table below.

Alignment of PROF with OWL
Alignment of PROF with OWL [[OWL2-OVERVIEW]].
PROF elementMapping propertyOWL element

The following RDF file contains just the mappings included in the table above:

Vocabulary of a Friend

Vocabulary of a Friend (VOAF) is a vocabulary specification providing elements allowing the description of vocabularies (RDFS vocabularies or OWL ontologies) [[VOAF]]. Due to VOAF being defined for use with RDF resources only, PROF as an alignment with VOAF which is instance-specific: resources described by PROF's prof:ResourceDescriptor class with the property prof:resourceRole linking to the Resource Role role:Vocabulary or a specialized version of it may be a voaf:Vocabulary.

Alignment of PROF with VOAF
Alignment of PROF with VOAF [[VOAF]].
PROF elementMapping propertyVOAF element
instance of rdf:Resource related to an instance of a prof:ResourceDescriptor via prof:hasArtifact that also relates to the Role role:Vocabulary or specialisation thereof instance of voaf:Vocabulary

The following RDF file contains just the mappings included in the table above:

OGC/ISO Modular Specification

Simple Knowledge Organization System

The Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) [[SKOS-REFERENCE]] is a data model knowledge organization systems, such as thesauri, taxonomies, classification schemes and subject heading systems. PROF declares its instances of Resource Role to be instances of the skos:Concept class to indicate that they should be considered a hierarchy of concepts within a skos:ConceptScheme. Since they are SKOS hierarchy and it is recommended that implementers of PROF extend the hierarchy for their own needs, implementers should consider creating new Resource Role (also skos:Concept) and relating them to the existing instances with SKOS properties, particularly skos:narrower/skos:broader.

Alignment of PROF with SKOS
Alignment of PROF with SKOS [[SKOS-REFERENCE]].
PROF elementMapping propertySKOS element

While SKOS is referenced in the main PROF RDF file, the following RDF file contains just the mappings included in the table above:

Security and Privacy


Changes since the First Public Working Draft are:

A comments disposition document is in preparation and will be available from the Data Exchange Working Group home page.



This section lists, and then addresses, individual requirements that the Dataset Exchange Working Group considered important for content negotiation by profile.

Responses to individual requirement Issues listed here are, at the time of the First Public Working Draft of this document, for demonstration only; to indicate the logic of answers to individual requirements.

These requirement responses may not survive in their current form in later drafts of this document nor may individual listings of requirements; they may be subsumed into the flowing txt of the document.




This is handled by having URIs for profiles resolve to HTML landing pages and RDF descriptions of the profile created according to this vocabulary which then lenk to Resource Descriptors and other Profiles.


This is addressed by a Profile using this vocabulary to link to other Profiles from which it derives.


This is addressed by Profiles using Resource Descriptors from this vocabulary which then implement constraint languages with various Roles such as "Full Constraints".



This is addressed by a Profile implementing a constraint language via a Resource Descriptor and selecting an appropriate Resource Role for it.






Profiles described using this vocabulary may indicate that they are a profileOf another Profile.







Using this vocabulary, a Profile may indicate a Resource Descriptor instance by way of the resource property. That Resource Descriptor may be a schema that conformsTo a constraints language, such as SHACL etc.



Using this vocabulary, all Profile instances are RDF Resources with their own URIs. Additionally, the token property is given for use with a Profile to be used to identify it where use of a full URI is not possible, such as within HTTP Query String Arguments.


Following relationships from a profile defined using this vocabulary, a person or machine may discover either Resource Descriptor resources describing any sort of document relevant to the profile or other Profiles.


Graph navigation of profiles' information described using this vocabulary is supported by its RDF mechanics.

An instance of a resource claiming adherence to an instance of a Profile might indicate its adherence by using the dct:conformsTo property.

Additional Issues

This section will be removed in a later version of this document.

Additional Issues related to this document and not yet placed within it are listed at the: