W3C: Data on the Web Best Practices



This document provides Best Practices related to the publication and usage of data on the Web designed to help support a self-sustaining ecosystem. Data should be discoverable and understandable by humans and machines. Where data is used in some way, whether by the originator of the data or by an external party, such usage should also be discoverable and the efforts of the data publisher recognized. In short, following these Best Practices will facilitate interaction between publishers and consumers.

Improving comprehension

One of the expected benefits when following the recommendation is to improve the comprehension of the dataset.

humans will have a better understanding about the data structure, the data meaning, the metadata and the nature of the dataset.

There is a list of recommendations to improve comprehension.

API Documentation

Developers are the primary consumers of an API and the documentation is the first clue about its quality and usefulness. When API documentation is complete and easy to understand, developers are probably more willing to continue their journey to use it. Providing comprehensive documentation in one place allows developers to code efficiently. Highlighting changes enables your users to take advantage of new features and adapt their code if needed.


Each requirement (such as Data should be available for bulk download) is associated with use cases that justify it. It can be used as a checklist against any given dataset provider.

Vocabulary Documentation

What does it mean for a vocabulary to be documented ? What is a vocabulary ?