Data Resource
A simple format to describe data and its metadata.

Authors Paul Walsh
Rufus Pollock
Version 1.0-rc.1
Last Updated 30 January 2017
Created 11 December 2017


Data Resource is a simple container format used to describe and package a data source with additional metadata about that data source. By providing a minimum set of required properties and a range of optional properties, the format enables a simple contract for data interoperability that is governed by minimalism.


Data Resource shares the design philosophy of all Frictionless Data Specifications, being:

  • Requirements that are driven by 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


See the Changelog for information.


The key words MUST, MUST NOT, REQUIRED, SHALL, SHALL NOT, SHOULD, SHOULD NOT, RECOMMENDED, MAY, and OPTIONAL in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.


A Data Resource is a simple container format that describes and packages a data source with additional information about that source.

At a minimum, a Data Resource requires a name property, and one of the path or data properties. name provides a human- and machine-readable identifier for the Data Package. data provides the data source inlined directly into the descriptor. path is a URI (or an array of URIs) for a file (or files) on a file system or over HTTP.

A range of other properties can be declared to provide a richer set of metadata.

Full information on required, recommended, and optional properties for a Data Resource descriptor is provided in the Properties section below.


An extension of Data Resource may be formalised as profile. A profile is a Data Resource which extends the default specification towards more specific needs.

A profile is declared on the profile property. For the default Data Resource descriptor, this SHOULD be present with a value of default, but if not, the absence of a profile is equivalent to setting "profile": "default".

Custom profiles MUST have a profile property, where the value is a unique identifier for that profile. This unique identifier can be in one of two forms. It can be an id from the official Data Package Schema Registry, or, a URI that points directly to a JSON Schema that can be used to validate the profile.

As part of the Frictionless Data Specifications project, we publish a number of Data Resource profiles. See those profiles below.


Example 1

A minimal Data Resource looks as follows.

# with data accessible via the local filesystem
  "name": "resource-name",
  "path": "resource-path.csv"

# with data accessible via http
  "name": "resource-name",
  "path": ""

Example 2

A minimal Data Resource example using the <code>data</code> property to inline data looks as follows.

  "name": "resource-name",
  "data": [
    {"a": 1, "b": 2}

Example 3

A comprehensive Data Resource example with all required, recommended and optional properties looks as follows.

  "name": "solar-system",
  "path": "",
  "title": "The Solar System",
  "description": "My favourite data about the solar system.",
  "format": "csv",
  "mediatype": "text/csv",
  "encoding": "utf-8",
  "bytes": 1,
  "hash": "",
  "schema": "",
  "sources": "",
  "licenses": ""


A valid Data Resource descriptor is an object conforming with the formal reference outlined in Properties, and, and the following more general requirements.


The descriptor MUST be valid JSON, as described in RFC 4627, and SHOULD be in one of the following forms:

  1. A file named dataresource.json.
  2. An object, either on its own or nested in another data structure.

Media type

The media type for Data Resource descriptors as MUST be application/vnd.dataresource+json. This media type is registered with IANA).


Several properties are defined as URI-formatted strings, which are to be considered as a subset of the formal URI specification described in RFC 3986. The additional constraints imposed are as follows:

  1. The only supported schemes are http and https. Absence of a scheme indicates either a POSIX path or a JSON Pointer (see below).
  2. URLs, indicated by http or https, MUST be fully qualified.
  3. POSIX paths, are supported for referencing local files, with the security restraint that they MUST be relative siblings or children of the descriptor. Absolute paths (/) and relative parent paths (../) MUST NOT be used, and implementations SHOULD NOT support these path types.
  4. JSON Pointers are supported as a general referencing mechanism to other properties in the same descriptor, and therefore MUST start with the pound symbol (#).


This section presents a complete description of required and optional properties for a Data Resource descriptor.

Adherence to the specification does not imply that additional, non-specified properties cannot be used: a descriptor MAY include any number of properties in additional to those described as required and optional fields.

Required properties

A Data Resource descriptor MUST include the following properties.


An identifier string. Lower case characters with '.', '_', '-' and '/' are allowed.

This is ideally a url-usable and human-readable name. Name `SHOULD` be invariant, meaning it `SHOULD NOT` change when its parent diescriptor is updated.
"name": "my-nice-name"


A reference to the data for this resource. `data` `MUST` be an array of valid URIs.

The dereferenced value of each referenced data source in the `data` `array` `MUST` be commensurate with a native, dereferenced representation of the data the resource describes. For example, in a *Tabular* Data Resource, this means that the dereferenced value of `data` `MUST` be an array.
"data": [ "file.csv", "file2.csv" ]
"data": [ "", "" ]
"data": [ "#/data/my-data", "#/data/my-data2" ]

Each item in the Data array is a **URI** string. The property is **required**.

A minimal example of URI looks like:

"uri": "file.csv"

Optional properties

A Data Resource descriptor SHOULD include the following properties.


The profile of this descriptor.

Every Package and Resource descriptor has a profile. The default profile, if none is declared, is `default`. The namespace for the profile is the type of descriptor, so, `default` for a Package descriptor is not the same as `default` for a Resource descriptor.
"profile": "tabular"
"profile": "fiscal"
"profile": ""


A schema for this resource.


A human-readable title.

"title": "My Package Title"


A text description. Markdown is encouraged.

# My Package description
All about my package.


The home on the web that is related to this data package.

"homepage": { "name": "My Web Page", "uri": "" }


The raw sources for this resource.

"sources": [ { "name": "World Bank and OECD", "uri": "" } ]

Each item in the Sources array is a **Source** object. The property is **required**.

All specified Source properties are as follows:


An identifier string. Lower case characters with '.', '_', '-' and '/' are allowed.


A URI (with some restrictions), being a fully qualified HTTP address, a relative POSIX path, or a JSON Pointer.


An email address.


The license(s) under which the resource is published.

This property is not legally binding and does not guarantee that the package is licensed under the terms defined herein.
"licenses": [ { "name": "ODC-PDDL-1.0", "uri": "" } ]

Each item in the Licenses array is a **License** object. The property is **required**.

All specified License properties are as follows:


An identifier string. Lower case characters with '.', '_', '-' and '/' are allowed.


A URI (with some restrictions), being a fully qualified HTTP address, a relative POSIX path, or a JSON Pointer.


A human-readable title.


The file format of this resource.

`csv`, `xls`, `json` are examples of common formats.
"format": "xls"


The media type of this resource. Can be any valid media type listed with [IANA](

"mediatype": "text/csv"


The file encoding of this resource.

"encoding": "utf-8"


The size of this resource in bytes.

"bytes": 2082


The MD5 hash of this resource. Indicate other hashing algorithms with the {algorithm}:{hash} format.

"hash": "d25c9c77f588f5dc32059d2da1136c02"
"hash": "SHA256:5262f12512590031bbcc9a430452bfd75c2791ad6771320bb4b5728bfb78c4d0"