The Bibliographic Ontology let you describe all these things, and much more, in RDF. In the last months the community developing BIBO has been quite fruitful. Many questions have been asked, many have been answered, and things are slowly getting shape.

It is for that reason that I started to create some more examples using the ontology; trying to see how people will use it; etc. I created some examples to see if I could easily describe two articles I wrote in the past few years: (1) and accepted article in a proceeding and (2) a refused article submitted for a conference. I was wondering if the current state of the ontology could easily cope with some weird cases. As you will notice bellow, it nicely described some weird cases that I encountered while describing these articles.

First example: Describing a Series, with volumes and articles

I wanted to describe an article I wrote with Uldis Bojars, Alexandre Passant and John Breslin. This article is part of a proceeding that is published in a series, as a volume (248). The series have a ISSN; however it is only published online (no paper is version available).

There is how BIBO describe such a case:

A Complex series + proceeding + article use case in RDF/XML

The series is a bibo:Series. This series has a title, a short title and a ISSN. Also, it is in relation with its publisher and has a status (published). Finally, this series is put in relation with its volume and a web document (a web page) that is a manifestation of the series.

This is something to have in mind for the remaining of this blog post: in BIBO, a web page is a document, like any other document. The only difference between a paper book and a webpage is their identifier(locator): a published paper book will have a ISBN, and a web page will have a URL. This said, we easily relates different documents’ formats using dcterms:relation. That way, we explicit a relation between two different documents (event if they only difference is their format (printer on paper, html, pdf, etc)).

After I described the proceeding that has been published. It is a bibo:Proceeding that has some properties, but particularly a bibo:volume property that describe its location into the series. Finally, the editors of the proceeding are described and are related to the proceeding they edited via a bibo:Contribution.

Contributions are at the core of the ontology; they are defined as:

“The contribution a person, group or organization makes to the creation or realization of a work.”

So, an editor and an author are contributors to the creation or realization of a work (a document).

Finally I described the article that is a bibo:Article. I described its properties, its authors, and the relation between the authors and the article. I also described its status: it has been peer-reviewed and has been published.

The links between the series, the proceeding and the article has been done by re-using the properties dcterms:hasPart and dcterms:isPartOf.

Second example: a rejected article submitted to a conference

For that second example, I wanted to describe an article I wrote a couple of years ago, that I submitted to a conference and that has been rejected. So, I had to describe the article, the conference, and the fact that it has been rejected after peer-reviewing.

There is how BIBO describes this use case:

Rejected article submitted to a conference in RDF/XML

This is basically the same thing has the above: describing a document with its authors.

However, in that case, I had to describe a conference. The Bibliographic Ontology use The Event Ontology to describe such things. The conference event has been described using the even:Event class, along with event:agent that relates the event with the organization that created the event and event:place that locates the event in the World.

However, the description of conference events will change in the next few weeks since Yves Raimond and me will create an extension module to this ontology to specifically describes conference events (so, we will talk about event:Conference, and event:organizer and event:sponsors, etc.).

Finally, I had something to say about this article I wrote. To say it, I created another type of document called a bibo:Note to annotate this document with some comments. A bibo:Note is a document of its own, like a bibo:Article. However, I relates the two documents (the bibo:Note and the bibo:Article) using the bibo:annotates property. That way, I describe the fact that a document is an annotation to another document.


These two examples explain how The Bibliographic Ontology can be used to describe some complex bibliographic use cases. It is just a start, and many questions are yet to be answered by the bibliographic ontology. However, many things are going forward and if you have been interested by this demonstration, I can only suggest you to join the community supporting BIBO’s development and help it evolving.

3 thoughts on “Describing Documents, Articles, Series, Volumes and Conferences using the Bibliographic Ontology

  1. The Open Library in RDF using The Bibliographic Ontology at Frederick Giasson’s Weblog
  2. Hi Frederick:

    Very interesting bib bontology this. Curious though as to why PRISM gets no mention especially for dealing with enumerated fields and that “dcterms” and newly invented “bibo” elements are used.

    Seems very odd especially as the ontology is mix and match from various namespaces, and that “dc” and “prism” is routinely used by journals publishers in RSS feeds and HTML metadata includes.



  3. Hi Tony,

    [quote post=”830″]Curious though as to why PRISM gets no mention especially for dealing with enumerated fields and that “dcterms” andjavascript:void(0); newly invented “bibo” elements are used.[/quote]

    Well, about PRISM: we agreed that we haven’t anything to reuse from it considering its goals and current state. (refers to the wiki and the mailing list for the full story).

    About DCTERMS instead of DC: the thing is that DCTERMS have been formalized in RDFS lately. The new DCTERMS are nearly crystalized, so we should expect them to replace DC I think (even if it is clearly not the case atm). It is a long term decision, and anyway, it is not a real issue since all these new DCTERMS are subclasses of the old DC vocabulary (example: dcterms:title subclassOf dc:title).

    [quote post=”830″]Seems very odd especially as the ontology is mix and match from various namespaces, and that “dc” and “prism” is routinely used by journals publishers in RSS feeds and HTML metadata includes.[/quote]

    Well, the only ontology we reuse for real bibliographic description is DCTERMS, other ontologies are used to describe authors, publishers (organization) and events (conferences).

    Thanks for taking time asking these questions, hope my answers were what you were expecting from me.

    Take care,



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