Saturday, December 15, 2007

RDF and the Semantic Web

Nicely written introductory link on RDF and the semantic web if you're curious. To give this some background and context... imo, this is why Google is coming out with it's "Knowls", etc, that was recently reported in the media.

a quick summary of RDF: Within in the flavor of XML that is RDF, people/companies creating web pages embed loosely organized 'sentences' of how the data on their pages is structured -- such as [what this page represents] [is a] [noun], or [actor] [starred_in] [movie] --- or more specifically ...whereby the URI "" could be used by anyone working in RDF to represent the concept of a dolphin.

...Wikipedia is currently way ahead of any site in terms of static informational pages, or references that are the answer to the "is a" question, for example. What do I mean by that/ why are these important? While databases structure data in a hierarchical, contained, somewhat inflexible way -- in the sense that this format of contained information therefore takes 'work' to connect that data to other data E.g. a webservice, an api wrapped around the database is required to allow others to access it etc. The Tim Berners Lee world of REST and the Semantic web theorizes ways to change that for the better in many ways, where pages themselves are related to the web in general via a common, standardized meta language.

So perhaps Google wants to catch up with Wiki (stands for "What I Know Is...") and extend its capability (dominance) in search in that different direction. I personally only care about what Google or Wikipedia is doing in the sense of how it will play out with the infrastructure of the web and how to anticipate what is ahead. REST, RDF, the Semantic web are interesting topics gaining momentum (which is one motivator for me in learning the Ruby web framework known as Rails, which embraces REST).

If the semantic web booms, which seems like a logical evolution, these Wiki or Knowls sorts of web properties find themselves at the core of finding information on the semantic web -- i.e. the semantic-noun-verb core. The standards for RDF and the semantic web are evolving, and it will be fun to see where/how this evolves over the next few years.

Some other links:
Redland RDF libraries: : (Ruby binding:
ActiveRDF (Rails):


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