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IVOA Semantics Working Group

The Semantics Working Group

Charter for the Semantics WG, approved by EXEC on 17 May 2006:Charter-Semantics.pdf

The Semantics Working Group superseded the UCD Working Group, effective from June 20th, 2006.

Group lead and advising comitee

WG Chair MireilleLouys (2015-)
WG Vice-chair Markus Demleitner (2018-)
WG Chair emeritus SebastienDerriere (2006-2012)


UCD list update

Procedure to ask for extension and /or modification of the UCD list

The procedure complies with the following basic principles:

  • Any member of the IVOA community can submit at any time a request for modification (RFM) of the controlled list of UCD words;
  • A globally editable page is the interface between the community and the Scientific Board in charge of discussing the RFM;
  • The author of a RFM should get an answer within 6 weeks;
  • At regular intervals (synchronized with IVOA Interoperability meetings) the approved modifications are integrated in a new version of the IVOA UCD1+ Common Vocabulary.
Current page for request for modification:

Discussion page

Previous RFM pages :

IVOA Recommendations

Current work

IVOA vocabularies update

Vocabularies used in the IVOA evolve following specification updates and usage .

here are the pages where discussion for the addition of new terms are summarised




2018- March Publishing and disseminating the IVOA defined vocabularies

VocabularyTestPage is a page proposed for a centralised page where all vocabularies defined in the VO could be published and downloaded.

This page is submitted for approval to the exec commitee, with a short charter discussed at last IVOA semantics sessions and on the semantics mailing list .

2018- February / New UCD List v 1.3

Elaboration of new UCD keywords for planetary metadata and radio data. This effort is described on the discussion page PlanetaryUCD .

This has generated a loop for revision for the UCD list of terms , now in the final step of Recommendation.

See for the request for comments for

2017- Oct / Update of the UCD Maintenance Standard

This work has been initiated at the Shanghai Interop, May 2017.

An IVOA Note has been issued to stabilize the maintenance process Note Version 2.0, 6 June 2017 Note Version 2.0, 6 June 2017 in track change mode from V1.20

This Note is turned to a Working draft proposing the Maintenance Process as an IVOA standard, in coordination with Standards & Process WG.

WorkingDraft 2.0, 19 October 2017 in track change mode from V1.20

Proposed Recommendation 23 August 2018. Proposed Recommendation 2.0, 23 August 2018 in track change mode from WD 2.0 20171019

Unique identifiers and description for facilities and instruments in astronomy and planetary science (started 2014)

Unified names and identifiers for astronomical Facilities, Telescopes and Instruments: See Unified Facilities Description at UniFacil (on going work).

TelescopeInstruments Nomenclature Meetings:

  • @ the Lisa conference in SXB -2017-June 3-6
  • Meeting in Strasbourg @CDS - 2018-Feb-21-23 SxbNomenTIMeeting20180221-23
  • Preparation for discussion at AAS meeting January 6-10 2019 - Metadata structure for Telescopes and Instruments description MetaTelInst -

Former work

Units specification in the IVOA

VOUnits: This specifies how to express unit strings in VO documents, APis, protocols and interfaces.

  • The VOUnits document is now an IVOA REC. The VOUnitsRFC and DiscussionOnVOUnits pages still exist, but should not now be added to.
  • There are no immediate plans for further work on the standard, however there is a small collection of issues and suggestions at VOUnitsNext

Vocabularies in the IVOA

Documents, releases and drafts are in the VocabulariesWorkingArea


Astronomical Keywords in the era of the Virtual Observatory, IVOA Note AstroKeysTN-20070425.pdf


Ontology of Astronomical Object Types
text: WD_2007-02-19.pdf
OWL file (2008MAY16): ObjectTypes_0.99r.owl

SKOS to OWL script. Basic, but functioning

Former work in the Semantics Group (2003-2014)



  • General working-group discussion archive. See the UCD archive for discussion prior to June 20th, 2006.
  • UCD Scientific Board archive
  • UCD Technical Board archive.

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
PDFpdf Note-UCDlistMaintenance-2.0-20170602.pdf manage 219.8 K 2017-06-02 - 13:33 FrancoiseGenova UCDlistMaintenance V2.0, Note 2 June 2017
PDFpdf Note-UCDlistMaintenance-2.0-20170602_withchanges.pdf manage 271.3 K 2017-06-02 - 13:34 FrancoiseGenova Note UCDlistMaintenance V2.0, showing changes from V1.20
PDFpdf PR-UCDlistMaintenance-2.0-20171018.pdf manage 362.1 K 2017-10-19 - 21:26 MireilleLouys Maintenance Process for the IVOA UCD list
PDFpdf PR-UCDlistMaintenance-2.0-20180823withchanges.pdf manage 253.0 K 2018-08-23 - 09:48 FrancoiseGenova  
Unknown file formatxsd VOFacility.xsd manage 28.9 K 2015-11-20 - 18:15 MireilleLouys VOresurce extension for the description of VOFacilities: Telescope , space missions , etc. - XML schema
PDFpdf WD-UCDlist-1.3-20150608.pdf manage 748.3 K 2015-06-18 - 13:02 MireilleLouys WD for updated UCDs terms / planetary and solar data
Unknown file formatdocx WD-UCDlist-1.3-20160719.docx manage 85.9 K 2016-10-21 - 06:16 MireilleLouys update on UCD 1.3 WD
PDFpdf WD-UCDlist-1.3-20160719.pdf manage 811.9 K 2016-10-21 - 07:07 MireilleLouys update of UCD vocabulary/ pdf version
PDFpdf WD-UCDlistMaintenance-2.0-20171018-Trackmode.pdf manage 365.8 K 2017-10-20 - 16:10 MireilleLouys maintenance Process for UCD- WD
XSL (XML style sheet)xsl skosToOwl.xsl manage 5.2 K 2010-11-15 - 19:49 BrianThomas SKOS to OWL script. Basic, but functioning.
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Topic revision: r90 - 2019-05-16 - MarcoMolinaro
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