A federated and curated metadata registry of agri-food datasets and data services

Instructions for registering a service in the RING

1. Automatic harvesting

If you have a data catalog that you want to see harvested in the RING, you can send us the URL of your API (any REST API, an OAI-PMH target, a SPARQL engine) or your metadata dump and indicate in which format and under which metadata model their metadata are available.

The procedures for importing from the CKAN and Dataverse data repository tools are already implemented, so if you use one of these tools just give us tha base URL of the catalog and we will import the metadata. Otherwise, the procedure for federating external data catalogs is different for each catalog. Write to valeria.pesce@fao.org to agree on the procedure.

2. Manual registration

After logging in, you can go directly HERE to register a new service.

Before registering a new dataset / data service, please check if the service has already been registered HERE.

For full detailed instructions on how to register a service / dataset, download the RING Handbook at the bottom of this page.

What to register in the RING

You can register any "data service" in the RING. "Data service" is a generic term for any type of information service on the web, from a simple website to a search engine to an application programmable interface to a data dump.

A more technical definition of what is considered "data service" in the RING is: any platform that provides information services from one server instance (website, mail server, web services, XML archive...) to any client (browsers, email clients, news readers...).
Examples are search engines, databases, repositories, Open Archives, RSS feeds, XML files,  RDF stores...

The preferred type of data service to which the RING wants to give access is datasets. You can register a dataset like a normal data service: what distinguishes a dataset is the service type (Dataset) and the provision of at least one "distribution" (an actual URL where the dataset can be retrieved) under the "Access to data" tab.

See here more information about the distinction between generic information services and datasets.

Who can register services in the RING

Anybody can register new services in the RING, provided that they know the necessary technical information about the service and they are responsible for the service or authorized by a responsible person. User registration is required in order to trace the source of information and allow users to edit their submission in the future.

1. Create an account here
2. Follow the instructions in the confirmation email that you will receive
3. When you are logged in, you have an additional navigation menu in the upper left part of the website. This menu allows you to register new services, register new organizations, review your submissions, review your account and log out.

How to register a dataset or data service

1. After logging in, you can click on “Add a service / dataset” in the user menu in the upper left part of the web page to register a new information service or dataset. Before registering a new service, please check if the service has already been registered by searching for it using the full-text search box in the “All info services” page.

2. Start filling in the mandatory information in the form.

The form consists in a number of “tabs”: the tabs group fields in different sections in order to make the registration process easier. Only a few fields are mandatory, however please fill in as many as possible in order to make your service easily searchable in the directory.

Upon registration of the service, please fill in at least the basic mandatory fields under the first two tabs below: "Basic " and "Geo ", then you can come back later and fill in the remaining fields. However please note that without detailed information on the type of service, type of data, technical accessibility, your service will not be easily found. Even if at different stages, please fill in as many fields as possible in order to make your service easily searchable in the directory.
Before filling in the sections on Standards and Access to data, please consider that you may need the assistance of the technical staff responsible for the service.

Mandatory fields:
- name;
- fields in the 'Basic' tab;
- fields in the 'Geographic information' tab.

3. Possibly, also fill:
-  fields in the 'Content' tab;
- .(very important if you want your data to be re-used)) fields in the "Access to data" tab, at least the access/download URL and the protocol through which the data are accessible. 

4. Either at the moment of registration or at a later time, please also fill the rest of the fields: the more information you provide, the easier it will be for other users to find your service.

Before filling in the fields in the Standards and Access to data tabs, please consider that you may need the assistance of the technical staff responsible for the service.
 


What are “information services” and “datasets” in the RING

In the RING, the two main sections for searching information sources are “All information services” and “Datasets”. Under All information services you will find all the services that have been registered to the RING, while under Datasets you will find only information services that make a collection of data available for access or download in one or more formats.

The following definitions explain this distinction better.

“Data services”

Data services is a generic term for any type of data service on the web, from a simple website to a search engine to an application programmable interface to a data dump.

A more technical definition of what is considered "data service" in the RING is: any platform that provides data services from one server instance (website, mail server, web services endpoint, XML archive) to any client (browsers, email clients, news readers, special protocol clients).

Any service that is registered in the RING will be listed in the “All data services” section.

“Datasets”

Dataset is a more specific term that has been defined in several ways[1], all of which further specify or extend the basic concept of “a collection of data”.

The way datasets are conceived in the RING follows the definition given by the W3C Government Linked Data Working Group to the concept of “dataset”:  a dataset is “a collection of data, published or curated by a single source, and available for access or download in one or more formats”. According to the same definition, the “instances” of the dataset “available for access or download in one or more formats” are called “distributions”: a distribution is “a specific available form of a dataset. Each dataset might be available in different forms, these forms might represent different formats of the dataset or different endpoints. Examples of distributions include a downloadable CSV file, an API or an RSS feed”.

Therefore, datasets in the RING are a subset of the more generic data services and comprise only the services that make a collection of data available for machine-access or download in one or more formats (distributions). The word “access” here has a specific technical meaning indicating machine-access at a certain address through a certain protocol, not just access through a web user interface (therefore, an online catalog search is not a dataset). In the same way “in one or more formats” here means in one or more machine-processable formats (therefore, a downloadable Word or PDF file with a list of bibliographic citations is not a dataset).

A special note is needed regarding dynamic dataset endpoints. Many data services that give direct access to the data in machine-readable format do not just expose static datasets for individual download, but provide an endpoint (REST API, web service, SPARQL or OAI-PMH endpoint) to query the data and retrieve a dynamically created dataset.

In these cases, the description of the access point should ideally provide the technical details of the protocol, parameters and response format in order to allow for the direct retrieval of data.

Important: the endpoint has to be an endpoint for machines, which can be called directly by an application and returns a dataset, not a web search engine where humans search and download data.

The RING considers these services as datasets because when calling the endpoint URL with the appropriate parameters the result is a dataset. Although the resulting dataset is not necessarily the whole data collection but most probably a subset.

 

Last modified: 
20/02/2018
agINFRA The RING is part of the agINFRA project EC 7th framework program INFRA-2011-1.2.2 - Grant agr. no: 283770