Structure of the Competency Index
The Linked Data Competency Index exemplifies a broader class of documents for describing curriculum standards and learning objectives or outcomes. There is no one standard way to formulate a competency index -- or competency framework, as they are sometimes called. The range of subjects to be learned, and the requirements for learning, are too diverse to be normalized. For the purposes of this index, the Competency Index Editorial Board devised the following structure:
Topics. A topic is a theme under which a set of competencies are grouped, such as Designing RDF-based vocabularies and Maintaining RDF vocabularies. Topics are grouped under higher-level topic clusters, such as RDF vocabularies and application profiles.
Competencies. A competency is a brief phrase characterizing knowledge (facts, insights, habits of mind, or skills) that may be learned. Competencies may be used as building blocks for constructing self-learning plans, university courses, or even entire curricula. Under the topic Querying RDF Data, for example, one finds two competencies:
Understands that a SPARQL query matches an RDF graph against a pattern of triples with fixed and variable values.
Understands the basic syntax of a SPARQL query.
Benchmarks. A benchmark is a brief phrase describing an action that can demonstrate accomplishment in a given competency. If competencies are about learning, benchmarks are about doing. Benchmarks may be used for devising homework assignments, exam questions, or self-testing checklists. Under the competency Understands the basic syntax of a SPARQL query, for example, one finds three benchmarks:
Uses angle brackets for delimiting URIs.
Uses question marks for indicating variables.
Uses PREFIX for base URIs.
By design, the index does not classify competencies or benchmarks by level of difficulty and makes no assumptions about the background knowledge or skill set of learners. This is because concepts that are comparatively easy for a library science student may be hard for a computer science student, and vice versa. The index should also not be taken to imply an inherent order to the topics.