fibo.schema.org - a worldwide financial vocabulary for structured data mark-up

Schema.org is a large-scale collaborative activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote a set of global schemes (vocabularies) for structured data online that utilise many different encodings, including RFDa and JSON-LD. Over 15 million sites currently use schema.org to mark-up their web pages. Companies from every sector, including auto, medical, media and financial, are now beginning to effectively utilise schema.org to enhance their visibility in search results.

Financial Innovation

The development of the FIBO schema, was devised by the EDM council and Makolab - as an EDM council member - was chosen to manage the project.

Prior to the FIBO extension, the financial and banking industries were poorly represented in search results, especially concerning the industry-specific terminologies that were underutilised by search engines. The Financial Industry Business Ontology is a business conceptual ontology that was developed in order to define financial industry terms, definitions and synonyms using semantic web principles, that in turn increases the visibility and practical use of financial terminologies in search results. Adding the FIBO extension to the general shared vocabulary for structured data mark-up on web pages holds the potential to enrich the search results for all major search engines, bridging the gap between financial industry terminologies and the terminology used on the worldwide web.

FIBO Features

The financial extension to schema.org incorporates the most commonly used terms and principal elements that are related to banks and financial institutions. The bank, the financial product and the offers to the client can all be represented and promoted through the schema. Through an extension of the types and properties within schema.org, the precise description of financial elements such as bank accounts, deposits, investment, loans and credit cards can all now be facilitated and expressed within search results. For the first time, the retail perspective of banks can be fully conveyed through the use of structured data using the mainstream vocabulary of the web.

 

           Figure 1. Types and Properties defined by the Financial Industry Business Ontology extension to schema.org

The types and properties provide a semantic description of the underlying assumptions to be made surrounding a given term. For example, ‘BrokerageAccount’ describes an account that allows an investor to deposit funds and place investment orders with a licensed broker or brokerage firm. Notably, whilst the schema provides a concise list of defined terms, it is still possible to amend and extend the ontology to include new or relevant descriptions. Newly proposed extensions to this ontology have already been implemented in subsequent updates of the schema, including ‘financial product’, ‘payment service’ and ‘deposit account’.

What this means for internet users and financial institutions

Finance and banking is a pervasive industry nowadays; consumers have bank accounts; car dealerships have their auto loans; airport kiosks handle currency conversions; employees of companies receive salary statements etc. Internet users however were still using basic search engine functionalities to search for results pertaining to their financial interests. With the use of structed web vocabularies instead, such as FIBO, users can now get answers more fluidly from searches, on more devices and across more interfaces than ever. The financial extension’s primary use is in the enhancement of a banks visibility on the web through better positioning and more precise “data-oriented” results on search engines. For instance, when banks use the FIBO extension, search engines can tap into the website to provide answers from the banks to answer the users’ financial questions (e.g. mortgage loans) without the users having to click through to the banks website.  

Transparency and Integration

FIBO contributes to the transparency of the global financial system, aids industry firms in providing a cost-effective means for integrating disparate technical systems and message formats, and aids in regulatory reporting by providing clear and unambiguous meanings of data from authoritative sources. Through the use of FIBO, users and financial institutions’ clients can be provided with more precise and, above all, unified descriptions of banking products and services offered by financial institutions -aiding clients in comparing offers and making it easier to evaluate a financial institutions credibility. The FIBO extension is already in use, with organisations such as the Bank of California already embedding the FIBO vocabulary into its website.

The role of MakoLab in building schema.org

MakoLab is one of the leading institutions highly-engaged in building schema.org extension ontologies. In May 2015, Makolab implemented the “Car” extension to schema.org for the automotive industry.

FIBO is Makolab’s latest extension and an official element of schema.org, dedicated to the financial and banking sector – a project building up the leading role of MakoLab in the area of semantics. 

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