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Meaning & purpose

In the RDA Registry relationships between real world entities are described by linking registry objects together using different kinds of relations. Relationships between activities, collections, parties and services are used to provide navigational links and contextual information. These relations create a rich mesh of information about Australia's research data and the parties, activities and services that support it. The four classes of registry objects can be related to each other.

RelatedObject has a number of child elements that describe the related resource:

  • the Key of the registry object to be linked (mandatory).
  • Relation, to describe the nature of the relationship between the registry objects, using Relation Type (mandatory), and the optional child elements:
    • Description—a plain text description further refining or describing a relationship. Optionally, the language of the relation description metadata can be recorded in the language attribute, @lang.
    • URL—a URI expressing or implementing the relationship between registry objects. For example, the URL which implements a service related to a collection.

Relation attributes

Relation Type

A Relation Type is required. Preferably specify a type from the Relation Type vocabulary. Local types may also be used, for example if a data source has described different relationships according to an established schema. Ad hoc local values should be avoided.

Available Relation Types differ according to the classes of registry object being linked; detailed descriptions of relevant relations are provided on the collectionserviceactivity and party pages. If the generic relation 'hasAssocationWith' is used, include a description of the details or nature of the association.

Expand the links below to view available Types:

 Relation Types: Activity...
Activity-Activity relation:
 
isPartOfis contained in the related activity (for example, a project that is part of a broader program)
hasPartcontains the related activity
Activity-Collection relation:
 
hasOutputdelivers materials in the related collection
Activity-Party relation:
 

isFundedBy

 receives monetary or in-kind aid from the related party

isManagedBy

 is organised and/or administered by the related party

isOwnedBy

 legally belongs to the related party

hasPrincipalInvestigator

 the related party is the lead investigator for the project or grant

hasParticipant

 the related party is a participant in the project or grant

Activity-Any relation:
 
hasAssociationWithhas an unspecified relationship with the related registry object
 Relation Types: Collection...
Collection-Collection relation:

describes

 is a catalogue for, or index of, items in a related collection

hasPart

 contains the related collection

hasAssociationWith

 has an undefined relationship with the related collection

isDescribedBy

 is catalogued or indexed by the related collection

isLocatedIn

 is held in the related repository

isLocationFor

 is the repository where the related collection is held

isPartOf

 is contained within the related collection

isDerivedFrom

 collection is derived from the related collection e.g. through analysis

hasDerivedCollection

 the related collection is derived from the collection e.g. through analysis

Collection-Party relation:

hasCollector

 has been collected, generated, created or aggregated by the related party

isManagedBy

 is maintained and made accessible by the related party (includes custodian role)

isOwnedBy

 legally belongs to the related party

hasPrincipalInvestigator

 is researched by the related party

isEnrichedBy

 (parties only) additional value provided to a collection by a party

Collection-Activity relation:
 
isOutputOfis a product of the related activity
Collection-Service relation:

supports

 can be contributed to, accessed or used through the related service (in technical terms, the collection supports the service)

isAvailableThrough

 (services only) Discovery Services (Harvest, Search, Syndicate)

isProducedBy

 (services only) Creation Services (Create, Generate, Assemble, Transform output)

isPresentedBy

 (services only) Creation Services (Report)

isOperatedOnBy

 (services only) Creation Services (Transform input)

hasValueAddedBy

 (services only) Metadata Services (Annotate, Classify)

Collection-Any relation:
hasAssociationWithhas an unspecified relationship with the related registry object
 Relation Types: Party...
Party-Party relation:

describes

 is a catalogue for, or index of, items in a related collection

hasPart

 contains the related collection

hasAssociationWith

 has an undefined relationship with the related collection

isDescribedBy

 is catalogued or indexed by the related collection

isLocatedIn

 is held in the related repository

isLocationFor

 is the repository where the related collection is held

Party-Collection relation:
 

enriches

 provides additional value to a collection

isCollectorOf

 has collected, generated, created or aggregated the related collection

isManagerOf

 administers the related collection

isPrincipalInvestigatorOf

 is researched by the related party

Party-Activity relation:
 

isParticipantIn

 is enrolled in the related activity

isFundedBy

 receives monetary or in-kind aid from the related party or program

isFunderOf

 provides monetary or in-kind aid to the related party or activity

isPrincipalInvestigatorOf

 is researched by the related party

Party-Any relation:
 

hasAssociationWith

 has an unspecified relationship with the related registry object

isManagedBy

 is overseen by the related party (includes custodian role)

isManagerOf

 oversees the related party or service or administers the related collection (includes custodian role)

isOwnedBy

 legally belongs to the related party

isOwnerOf

 legally possesses the related activity, collection, service or party (group only)

 Relation Types: Service...
Service-Service relation:
 
hasPartcontains the related service
isPartOfis contained within the related service
Service-Collection relation:
 

isSupportedBy

 enables contribution and access to and use of the related collection (all services) (in technical terms, the collection supports the service)

makesAvailable

 Discovery Services (Harvest, Search, Syndicate)

produces

 Creation Services (Create, Generate, Assemble, Transform output)

presents

 Creation Services (Report)

operatesOn

 Creation Services (Transform input)

addsValueTo

 Metadata Services (Annotate, Classify)

Service-Party relation:
 
isManagedByis overseen by the related party (includes custodian role)
isOwnedBylegally belongs to the related party
Service-Any relation:
 
hasAssociationWith

has an unspecified relationship with the related registry object

Use in Research Data Australia

All relations are displayed as hyperlinks and can be used to navigate to other information within Research Data Australia. In addition, a visual presentation of a record's relationships is displayed through a relationship graph with each node on the graph representing a related entity with links to related pages (internal and external to Research Data Australia).

Labels for relationships are simplified for display in Research Data Australia:

 Click here to view Relation labels...
RelationDisplays as:

describes

Describes

enriches

Enriches

isEnrichedBy

Enriched by

hasAssociationWith

Associated with

hasCollector

Aggregated by

hasMember

Has member

hasOutput

Produces

hasPart

Includes

hasParticipant

Undertaken by

has PrincipalInvestigator

Principal investigator

isCollectorOf

Collector of

isDescribedBy

Described by

isFundedBy

Funded by

isFunderOf

Funds

isLocatedIn

Located in

isLocationFor

Location for

isManagedBy

Managed by

isManagerOf

Manages

isMemberOf

Member of

isOutputOf

Output of

isOwnedBy

Owned by

isOwnerOf

Owner of

isParticipantIn

Participant in

isPartOf

Part of

is PrincipalInvestigatorOf

Principal investigator of

isSupportedBy

Supported by

supports

Supports

If two or more collections are related to each other with a relationship type of 'hasPart' or 'isPartOf' (nested collections: see XML encoding example below), they will graphically display as a hierarchy in Research Data Australia similar to the following:


Best practice

Contributors should consider how important a relation is to discovery, and not create relations that will not improve access. In particular, although the RDA Registry allows parties to be related, this should be used only to improve discovery. A relation between a person (researcher) and a group (funding organisation) may add value, while hierarchical relations between organisational parts may not.

RelatedInfo or RelatedObject?

Registry objects can be linked to a related collection, party, activity or service in one of two ways:

  1. using an Identifier in the RelatedInfo element, OR
  2. using the Key of an (existing or new) related RegistryObject in the RelatedObject element.

As Research Data Australia is primarily a collections registry, it is preferred that a RegistryObject be created to describe collections. However, consider whether you need to create a RegistryObject for parties. Research Data Australia treats parties linked via RelatedObject or RelatedInfo in almost exactly the same way: the indexing and display of names are equivalent; however, an advantage of using RelatedObject is that reverse links are generated from the Party Object, allowing all collections related to that Party to be displayed when a Party name is clicked on (this functionality will hopefully be available with RelatedInfo links in a future release). The advantage of using RelatedInfo is that it is the simplest (and most sustainable) way to link parties to collections, activities and services with a globally unique persistent identifier (preferably an ORCID).

Whichever option is chosen, contributors are strongly encouraged to provide a globally unique identifier such as a DOI, ORCID or PURL in their records. Identifiers support a linked data approach that enables relationships between resources to be identified and displayed in Research Data Australia regardless of the source of the record.

Multiple relations

It is possible to create multiple relations for a single object. For example, a party may be related to a collection as both manager and owner. Multiple relations for a single object should be provided in a single instance of the RelatedObject element. See the XML encoding examples below for details.

See Relationships between registry objects for information on how the RDA Registry can automatically create relationships between objects, and bi-directional links between related objects.

XML encoding examples

Part of a party record, showing the key of the related collection and the party's relation to that collection (isOwnerOf)
<relatedObject>
	<key>hdl:102.100.100/999999</key> 
	<relation type="isOwnerOf"/> 
</relatedObject>
Part of a collection record showing the key of a related party and the collection's relation to that party (isOwnedBy)
<relatedObject>
	<key>http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-549576</key> 
	<relation type="isOwnedBy"/> 
</relatedObject>
Part of a collection record showing the key of a related party and the collection's multiple relations to the party (isManagedBy ; isOwnedBy)
<relatedObject>
	<key>http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-549576</key> 
	<relation type="isManagedBy"/>
	<relation type="isOwnedBy"/>
</relatedObject>
Part of a collection record showing a collection's multiple relations to its parent collections (isPartOf) and its child collection (hasPart) - "nested collection"
<relatedObject>
	<key>Collection26</key>
	<relation type="isPartOf"/>
</relatedObject>
<relatedObject>
	<key>Collection28</key>
	<relation type="isPartOf"/>
</relatedObject>
<relatedObject>
	<key>Collection29</key>
	<relation type="hasPart"/>
</relatedObject>

 

Change history

 Click here to view...
DateChange history
April 2010Consultation draft
26 Oct 2010First web publication
25 Jan 2011Relation information for services added
18 July 2011Information about inferred bi-directional links added
21 Nov 2011Information about creating primary relationships
5 Dec 2011Minor clarifications to descriptions of relation types
4 May 2012Correction, added collection-to-any relation isAssociatedWith, previously omitted in error
20 Nov 2012PrincipalInvesigator relation type added
8 April 2013Information about multiple relations added
15 May 2013Information about nested collections added
26 Nov 2013Information about expanded use of relatedInfo added to best practice section (RIF-CS v1.0.5)
26 Nov 2015Updated definitions of hasCollector and isCollectorOf introduced with Release 18
5 July 2017Content completely revised and updated. Updated relatedInfo vs relatedObject best practice guidance. Primary and bi-directional links info, and detailed relation explanations moved to new Research Data Functionality and Display page.
20 June 2018Updated relatedInfo vs relatedObject best practice guidance.
14 Aug 2018Added information about graph display of relations in RDA (Release 28)