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Provincia Autonoma di Trento - Innovazione



DCAT-AP_IT on the Trentino and South Tyrol catalogues: a step forward towards open data interoperability

The DCAT-AP_IT metadata profile extension for CKAN, developed jointly by SŘdtirol/Alto Adige and Trentino, makes open data catalogues on CKAN platforms directly adjustable to national and European metadata standards. This development exploits the huge standardisation work carried out by AgID with the 2016 national guidelines, as it allows the alignment of the open data catalogues of many Italian regions, as well as of those of other public bodies, with these standards. We now have a standard, we need to align our contents with it.


In the last months, AGID completed the process of drafting and sharing the national guidelines for the enhancement of public information asset 2016. An important part of this text consists in the introduction of a national DCAT-AP_IT metadata profile for the documentation of public administration data.

In the text, AGID specifies how to provide documentation for open datasets, by adding some specifications for the Italian context (IT) and aligning with the application profile (AP) standard for data catalogues (DCAT) set by the European community and defined globally by W3C.

During the definition of the "provincial guidelines for the enhancement of public information asset", approved in December 2015, the Project Open Data in Trentino repeatedly referred to AgID in order to guarantee the alignment of the local guidelines with the national and European framework.

We share the interest for cross-border dataset interoperability with the colleagues at the Autonomous Province of Bolzano; with them, we have now been collaborating for a long time in oder to share and re-use knowledges, tools and visions on the matter of open data, by paying attention to the respective territorial peculiarities, but being strongly aware that, in these contexts, speed and global vision are crucial to the development of data-driven economies.

We hence invested together to make the AgID DCAT-AP_IT standard be implemented on our open data platforms based on CKAN developments. The aim was to provide the national CKAN community with an operational tool for data catalogues with common standard and aligned metadata. This achievement will be visible on dati.gov.it, the national node for the European open data portal.

The value of data increases if those opening them are committed to share definitions and tools making data re-usable outside of the offices, administrations or territories generating them. As the European Commission affirms, in spite of an estimated 325 billion euros more GDP (EU28 2016-2020) coming from data-driven economy, this growth can be prevented by some issues; among them is a too strong difference in the standards (together with legal and linguistic heterogeneity).

Thanks to AGID, the european and national metadata standards are now set, and, in our opinion, it is now up to each one of us do our best to apply them to our catalogues.

This is the reason why, together with the Province of Bolzano, we developed the CKAN platform extension. In Italy, many public administrations, other than the two autonomous provinces, use a CKAN platform: Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Lazio, Umbria as well as several medium/large sized municipalities such as Lecce, Bari, Matera, etc.. Our opinion is that a coordination between the CKAN community of the Italian public administrations and AGID would be useful for the development of common practices and standardization processes and would increase the value and growth speed of the European digital single market.

The release of the extension is then both in line with the "open source" concept that has always been at the basis of the CKAN community and of its development, and agreed upon by different government levels in order to make public information assets compliant with the standards enabling cross-country data interoperability.

The next step is up to data owners, who need improve the updating of their dataset descriptions; a little effort to be done in the awareness of the importance of making datasets be comprehensible, traceable and therefore re-usable across Europe along with the almost six hundred thousand datasets of the European Data Portal

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