Open Terms Archive is a decentralised system. It aims at enabling any entity set up their own collections and track terms on their own.

In order to maximise discoverability, collaboration and political power, public collections are federated within a single ecosystem. This makes their data mutually discoverable and enables mutualising effort.


A collection that joins the federation enjoys the following benefits:

  1. Visibility on the Open Terms Archive website lists of collections and datasets.
  2. Access to the Open Terms Archive GitHub organisation, administered by the Open Terms Archive core team.
  3. Collection logo provided by the Open Terms Archive core team.
  4. Referencing in the official collections list, enabling off-the-shelf discovery in the Federation API.
  5. Referencing in the official datasets list, providing visibility to analysts.
  6. Dedicated channel on the Open Terms Archive instant messaging system.
  7. API uptime tracking.
  8. Public announcement through all Open Terms Archive communication channels upon joining.


A collection can join the Open Terms Archive federation if it abides by the following quality criteria:

  1. Clearly defined collection metadata.
  2. Clearly defined collection governance.
  3. The vast majority of versions are readable, as evidenced by a sample assessment.
  4. Frequency of at least one track a day, as evidenced by snapshots.
  5. Public and open-licensed declarations, as evidenced by the LICENSE file in the declarations repository.
  6. Public and open-licensed snapshots, as evidenced by the LICENSE file in the snapshots repository.
  7. Public and open-licensed versions, as evidenced by the LICENSE file in the versions repository.
  8. Regular, public, and open-licensed dataset releases, as evidenced by the LICENSE file in the datasets.
  9. Publicly accessible API with median response time under 20ms, as evidenced by uptime tracking logs.
  10. Abide by all Open Terms Archive software and data licenses.

How to join

An official request for joining the federation can be sent by the collection administrator or curator to the core team over email, GitHub or instant messages. That request should contain all necessary content or links that enable assessing the criteria.

The core team will confirm reception of the request and assess the criteria within 4 weeks. The result of the assessment will be provided to the requester through the same means the request was sent, along with a positive decision or a list of improvements that need to be done before a new request can be sent.

Once a positive decision has been issued, the core team will provide the requester with a timeline for joining the federation, on which they will jointly agree.


Please note that establishing the federation is an ongoing effort. While criteria are assessed and refined to strike the right balance between accessibility and quality, the Open Terms Archive core team is responsible for assessing which collections may join the federation, and has the right to update the criteria as requests for joining are made.

The core team has the right to re-assess the federated status of any collection at any given time. In case the federated status of a collection is changed, the collection administrator will be informed immediately, and if possible before the action is made.