Controlled Vocabularies

Published on: 07/01/2021
Last update: 25/01/2021

Controlled vocabularies are clearly defined lists of names and concepts that ensure proper understanding when used for labelling, indexing or categorising. Therefore, controlled vocabularies allow the representation of fundamental features of a concept in a fashion neutral way. 

The Catalogue of Services Actions analyses and recommends the use of external controlled vocabularies to be used together with the CPSV-AP data standard. This improves the interoperability of the descriptions and eases the integration of information coming from different sources.


Here is the list of controlled vocabularies that are recommended by the Catalogue of Services Action :





What are the criteria to assess a controlled vocabularies with the property from CPSV-AP ?

The Action has previously undertaken the preparation of an inventory listing controlled vocabularies that could potentially be re-used for CPSV-AP.  These results were compared and discussed within the Working Group before highlighting those recommended within the CPSV-AP specification itself. Different criteria such as maintenance, updates and multilingualism were used to decide which controlled vocabularies would be recommended in orange in the table below. 

Taxonomy of public services

In addition to the specific controlled vocabularies recommended and/or developed as part of the Action, we have developed an initial taxonomy of public services with the objective to agree on a first level of generic terms for public services.

The current draft taxonomy can be downloaded from GitHub (direct download here).

Even though the CPSV-AP pushes for the harmonisation between catalogue of public services in Europe, our experience has shown that most of the catalogues and e-government portals are following different taxonomies or big differences exist in the naming of public services. This leads to additional work for harmonising multiple catalogues, for instance for mapping the different terms. While each catalogue of services contains specific services offered to citizens, business and other organisations, generic public services common to most of the catalogues exist but use different names and definitions. A commonly agreed taxonomy of generic public services would help public administrations to align their catalogues of services.

The taxonomy proposed is based on several classifications of public services from European and non-European countries.

The following report describes the approach used to develop the taxonomy as well as some of the next steps to finalise it such as:

  • Aligning the taxonomy with the final classifications used as part of the Single Digital Gateway Regulation;
  • Publishing the taxonomy in different machine and human-readable formats (e.g. linked data) together with persistent identifiers and maintenance policies.



Please note that the proposed list of controlled vocabularies is currently subject to revisions / updates. We therefore invite you to get in touch if you have suggestion regarding the controlled vocabularies. 


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