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Semantic Catalogs of LCA Data

This repository stores a collection of linked-data catalogs that describe several LCA data sources in a common format. The catalogs distinguish between "semantic" content, or information that carries meaning and must be interpreted, and "quantitative" content, or numerical data values that are necessary to perform LCA computations. In between is "structured" content, which shows the existence of relationships between entities without including quantitative aspects of those relationships.

Semantic data include names, classifications, categories, units of measurement, spatial and temporal scopes, and so on. The figure below shows the principal entity types included in the catalog:

The structural information in the catalogs includes:

Minimal LCA Linked Data model

Quantitative data in LCA strictly pertain to flows, since only flows have measurable extent. There are two types of quantitative data, corresponding to the two types of structural information:

For data sources that are free, including USLCI and ELCD, the catalogs include the semantic, structural, and quantitative data (i.e. processes include lists of exchanges, and those exchanges include values).

For data sources that are not free, including the GaBi professional database and extensions, and the Ecoinvent database, the catalogs include only the semantic information and partial structural information (a listing of reference exchanges or characterizations). They exclude non-reference exchanges and characterizations, and exclude all exchange values and characterization factors.

Authors and Contributors

The catalogs were produced in connection with a manuscript under review at the Journal of Cleaner Production, authored by Brandon Kuczenski (, Christopher B. Davis (University of Groningen), Beatriz Rivela (, and Krzysztof Janowicz (UCSB Department of Geography).