Hosted by the IPTC under agreement with the BBC

This site provides access to the ontologies the BBC is using to support its audience facing applications such as BBC Sport, BBC Education, BBC Music, News projects and more. These ontologies form the basis of our Linked Data Platform.

If you would like to access an RDF Turtle version of an ontology, simply add .ttl to the end of an ontology URL.

If you would like to get in touch with us, please email the BBC's Metadata Unit.

You can also access the mappings of the terms we have defined in our ontologies to other, well known open vocabularies.

Basic Concepts

The ontologies are built incrementally according to current business requirements. They are all expected to evolve as our requirements evolve. The BBC produces a plethora of rich and diverse content about the things that matter to our audiences. Linked Data gives us an opportunity to connect content together through those topics. We use ontologies to describe the world around us, content the BBC creates, and the management, storage and sharing of these data within the Linked Data Platform.

Creative Works

A Creative Work is an item of content available online such as a news article, programme, guide or recipe. We have defined the necessary metadata such as title, short description and a link to the full creative work in the CreativeWork Ontology.


'Things' are the stuff that we talk about; they're the things that matter to the BBC's audience, and what the BBC makes content about. This set of data covers everything from athletes, politicians and music artists to football teams, subjects in the UK curricula and places. We use domain ontologies to model the Things. For example, sport teams and competitions are modelled in the Sport Ontology while, curriculum concepts and their associations are modelled in the Curriculum Ontology. News Pilot projects are currently supported by the Storyline Ontology, built in collaboration with other news organisations. People, places and organisations that can be relevant to many domains are modelled in the CoreConcepts Ontology. As the BBC expands its usage of Linked Data, more of these domain-specific ontologies will evolve accordingly.

Data Management and Ownership

Last but not least we have ontologies that support storage, management and ownership of Linked Data. The Provenance Ontology enables data to be stored in the appropriate named graphs with the necessary ownership and auditing information attached to them. The CMS Ontology allows for data management between systems and synchronisation between the Linked Data Platform and the content management systems where the content and Things are produced.

The Ontologies

  • The BBC ontology is used to describe BBC concepts in the store. For example, the BBC divisions (products) publishing linked data and interfacing with the triplestore, the platforms for which we produce content and the web documents that publish or are relevant to the BBC's content.
  • The Business News Ontology describes the concepts that occur in BBC busines news
  • An ontology to represent the content management systems and their interaction with the triplestore. For instance, how should an entity in the triplestore, e.g., the URI for Manchester United, be linked to an external CMS that provides more information about Manchester United, e.g., sports statistics, or how should a creative work URI in the triplestore refer to the CMS it was created. The CMS ontology provides the Linked Data Platform customers with pointers to additional information about a thing in other systems.
  • The generic BBC ontology for people, places, events, organisations, themes which represent things that make sense across the BBC. This model is meant to be generic enough, and allow clients (domain experts) link their own concepts e.g., athletes or politicians using rdfs:subClassOf the particular concept.
  • This is the model we use to express the minimum metadata necessary to express a piece of creative content in the platform. The creative work ontology is continuously evolving based on our clients' requirements. There is a core class in this model, which is the CreativeWork class and properties that support information the LDP clients need to build their products such as title, thumbnail, URL e.t.c.
  • This ontology aims to provide data model and vocabularies for describing the national curricula within the UK
  • A simple vocabulary for describing recipes, ingredients, menus and diets.
  • An ontology which holds classes and properties which are useful for describing the journalistic output of the BBC.
  • An ontology which describes a model for politics, specifically in terms of local government and elections. This is an evolving spec, originally designed to cope with UK (England and Northern Ireland) Local, and European Elections in May 2014.
  • BBC Programmes aims to ensure that every programme brand, series and episode broadcast by the BBC has a permanent, findable web presence. We have developed the Programmes Ontology to expose this data following the Linked Data approach, enabling the interchange of programme information on the Semantic Web.
  • The provenance ontology supports data management and auditing tasks. It is used to define the different types of named graphs we used in the store (quad store) and enables their association with metadata that allow us to manage, validate and expose data to our services
  • The Sport Ontology is a simple lightweight ontology for publishing data about competitive sports events.
  • An ontology to represent News Storylines.
  • A simple vocabulary for describing biological species and related taxa. The vocabulary defines terms for describing the names and ranking of taxa, as well as providing support for describing their habitats, conservation status, and behavioural characteristics, etc.