Omar Laurino - VODML - Status update - June, 18 2015 - Sesto

VODML - Status update

Omar Laurino

June, 18 2015



  • provide formal rules for data modeling in IVOA
  • provide standard, machine-readable Data Model descriptions
  • define Portable Data Model References
  • define primitives types (IVOA model)

Some benefits

From the Data Model WG charter:

[The WG] provide[s] a framework for the description of metadata attached to observed or simulated data.

[...] focuses on logical relationships between these metadata, examines how an astronomer wants to retrieve, process and interpret astronomical data, and provides an architecture to handle them.

[...] What is defined in this WG can then be re-used in the protocols defined by the DAL WG or in VO aware applications.

Formal Data Modeling Rules

  • Based on UML Class Diagram meta-model
  • Relational Model, server-friendly
  • Object Model, client-friendly

Data Model descriptions


Portable Data Model references


points to


Portable Data Model references

Can be used in VOTable (pending VOTable discussion)



  • Normative part is basically unchanged since Heidelberg:
    • utype -> vodml-ref
  • Informative sections improved before Banff
  • Nothing major changed since Banff
    • Few minor To Be Discussed addressed.
  • Implementation feedback is good: only one issue identified.
  • Working on more XMI translation scripts.

Document seems stable. Should be ready for Proposed Recommendation pending few TBDs.

To Be Discussed

  • Few TBDs left in the document:
    • <<subsets>>┬áissues from implementation feedback
    • prefix: globally unique or defined in serialization?
    • SKOSConcept/RDF/Enumeration
  • One TODO:
    • reformat a figure

Subsets property

Implements UML concepts of redefines and subsets

  • subsets: WG chairs are a subset of the IVOA members
    • Common pattern in Relational Models
  • redefines: the SphericalError on a SphericalCoordinate is a subtype of a generic Error on a Coordinate
    • Common pattern in Object Models

Subsets property

STC2 uncovered issue with subsets property

The subsetted property would redefine its VODML-ID, breaking inheritance, e.g.:




Fixed by making subsets an attribute of the super-type.



  • STC2
  • Spectral DM 2.0
  • Cube DM

Formal meta-modeling rules make models more robust and interoperable. We need more tools for easily translate models to VODML/XML.


  • volib/Python: Django-like Models in MVC
    • Demonstrates that VODML can be adapted to Object Model
  • VO Mapper/Web: map models to TAP services
    • Demonstrates that compliant annotations can be made without knowledge of the specs
  • Validator/Java
    • Demonstrates that models can be validated by model-agnostic software


  • For serializations we need the Mapping Document to settle, however:
    • prototypes of the current Mapping Document have been successful
    • plenty of pre-Banff prototypes

Discussion items

Model Prefix

  • Have them globally unique (e.g. stc2, char, spec2)


  • Define them dynamically (a la XML namespace)

Consensus seems to be that they are globally unique.

Can we confirm this?

Should models (and prefixes) be registered?

Enumerations vs Vocabularies

  • Enumerations:
    • integral part of the model
    • a change requires an update of the model
  • Vocabularies:
    • can be extended without updating the model
    • VODML supports SKOS concepts, which are more flexible
      • e.g. relationships among concepts