Data Packages

Data Package is a simple container format used to describe and package a collection of data. The format provides a simple contract for data interoperability that supports frictionless delivery, installation and management of data.

Data Packages can be used to package any kind of data. At the same time, for specific common data types such as tabular data it has support for providing important additional descriptive metadata – for example, describing the columns and data types in a CSV.

The following core principles inform our approach:

  • Simplicity
  • Extensibility and customisation by design
  • Metadata that is human-editable and machine-usable
  • Reuse of existing standard formats for data
  • Language, technology and infrastructure agnostic

The Data Package Suite of Specifications

Over time the single Data Package spec has evolved into a suite of specs – partly through componentization whereby the original spec is in several components and partly through extension.

The main specifications are:

How do these specifications relate?

A Data Package can “contain” any type of file. A Tabular Data Package is a type of Data Package specialized for tabular data and which “contains” one or more CSV files. In a Tabular Data Package, each CSV must have a schema defined using JSON Table Schema and, optionally, a dialect defined using CSV-DDF. An application or library that consumes Tabular Data Packages therefore must be able to understand not only the full Data Package specification, but also JSON Table Schema and CSV-DDF.

For more information on each specification, see below:

Data Package

Tabular Data Package

JSON Table Schema

CSV Dialect Description Format