Crafting Effective Machine-Actionable Schemas with

In the realm of data analysis, having well-structured and clear data is fundamental for meaningful insights. Data schemas provide a blueprint for understanding and organizing datasets. In today’s digital landscape, where automation and machine-readability are vital, machine-actionable schemas offer enhanced utility. This blog post will guide you through the process of creating a machine-actionable schema using, a user-friendly platform. We’ll explore how to develop such schemas step by step and the benefits of utilizing the Overlays Capture Architecture (OCA) for better data management.

The Practicality of Machine-Actionable Schemas

Think of a schema as a roadmap that navigates you through your data landscape. Machine-actionable schemas take this up a notch by making the schema easily understandable for computers. The advantages range from ensuring data accuracy to streamlining data integration and analysis.

Getting Started: Crafting Your Machine-Actionable Schema simplifies schema creation through a tutorial on crafting an Excel Template schema. Before you begin, have a clear picture of your dataset or the data you intend to collect. Decide on concise attribute names, avoiding spaces and complex characters to maintain clarity and consistency.

Overlays Capture Architecture (OCA) is the language that uses to express your schema. It allows flexibility to schema design, such as having descriptive labels for your schema attributes. These labels provide context and descriptive information, ensuring accessibility for diverse users. This feature enriches the schema’s comprehensibility. OCA also has features such as adding units to your schema attributes, descriptions to help users understand attributes and more.

A Gradual Approach to Schema Improvement

The flexibility of OCA enables you to start with a basic schema and add details as your project progresses. This adaptable approach accommodates evolving project needs without overwhelming you with upfront complexity.

Creating the Machine-Actionable Version‘s parser transforms your Excel Template schema into an official OCA Bundle. This bundle compiles all schema features into machine-readable JSON format, packaged as a .zip file.

A pathway for working with schemas. First write your schema template in Excel, then parse this template to your .zip machine-readable bundle at You can save this schema and the Excel template together with your data and share it with your data. You can also deposit the .zip and Excel template schemas in Borealis through the library process. You will then have a published schema with a DOI.

Future Developments and the OCA Standard aims to expand beyond Excel Templates and introduce additional functionalities. The OCA Bundle adheres to the OCA Open Standard hosted by the Human Colossus Foundation. This standardization ensures compatibility and interoperability within the data ecosystem.

Contributing to the OCA Standard

For those interested in shaping OCA’s future, participating in OCA Standard meetings offers an avenue for contribution. By sharing insights, you can contribute to refining this open standard. empowers researchers with practical tools to create machine-actionable schemas. By simplifying schema creation and incorporating OCA, facilitates efficient, accurate, and collaborative data-driven research. Delve into the world of machine-actionable schemas and optimize your data management with

Written by Carly Huitema