Clarification of Agent roles

Published on: 29/08/2015

Agent roles are a possible source for misunderstanding and threat to interoperability. In the DCAT-AP the property publisher refers (as in the Dublin Core) to an entity (organisation; in DC also person and service are included) responsible for making the Dataset available. In research context publisher is generally associated with an entity responsible for making the dataset available originally (for the first time). The entity or entities responsible for making the dataset available after that or in addition to that entity is called distributor. It is also important to state who is the right holder of the dataset (a person or an organisation who according to the Copyright Act has the copyright on the dataset and who decides upon the use of the dataset). This is needed in addition to the Rights Statement. It is possible to add multiple publishers to the dcat:Dataset, but currently there is no way to model that some publisher is a distributor/original publisher/rights holder. Possible solutions:

  • Add separate distributor/publisher/rightsHolder associations from Dataset to Agent.
  • Create controlled vocabulary that can be used to clarify the role of the Agent (As suggested above, add dct:contributor from Dataset to Agent and dcat:contributorType to the Agent).
  • (Addition to the proposals above): The DCAT-AP dataset has a property called contact point (property contains contact information that can be used for sending comments about the dataset). In practice, these contact points (organizations, persons, systems) may act as Distributors, accepting requests to use the data and enabling access to it. The contact point property could be extended to cover this type of information, which may be crucial for accessing information that is not open but requires management of access rights via requests and approvals.

This issue has been reported by Pirjo-Leena Forsström:






Thu, 24/09/2015 - 13:19


Analysis: Discussion has taken place, and new action has been proposed.

Proposal: Draft text for explaining the Agent roles.

Tue, 03/05/2016 - 11:06

Wed, 26/10/2016 - 16:05

This issue is further discussed in light of the implementation guidelines for DCAT-AP. A new issue has been created via