As 2007 came to a close I repeatedly mulled over the idea of putting together a usual "year in review" and a set of predictions for the coming year etc. Anyway, the more I pondered, the smaller the list became. While pondering (as 2008 rolled around), the Blogosphere was set ablaze with the Robert Scoble's announcement of his account suspension by Facebook. Of course, many chimed in expressing views either side of the ensuing debate: Who is right -- Scoble or Facebook. The more I assimilated the views expressed about this event, the more ironic I found the general discourse, for the following reasons:

  1. Web 2.0 is fundamentally about Web Services as the prime vehicle for interactions across "points of Web presence"
  2. Facebook is a Web 2.0 hosted service for social networking that provides Web Services APIs for accessing data in the Facebook data space. You have to do so "on the fly" within clearly defined constraints i.e you can interact with data across your social network via Facebook APIs, but you cannot cache the data (perform an export style dump of the data)
  3. Facebook is a main driver of the term: "social graph", but their underlying data model is relational and the Web Services response (data you get back) doesn't return a data graph, instead it returns an tree (i.e XML)
  4. Scoble's had a number of close encounters with Linked Data Web | Semantic Data Web | Web 3.0 aficionados in various forms throughout 2007, but still doesn't quite make the connection between Web Services APIs as part of a processing pipeline that includes structured data extraction from XML data en route to producing Data Graphs comprised of Data Objects (Entities) endowed with: Unique Identifiers, Classification or Categorization schemes, Attributes, and Relationships prescribed by one or more shared Data Dictionaries/Schemas/Ontologies
  5. A global information bus that exposes a Linked Data mesh comprised of Data Objects, Object Attributes, and Object Relationships across "points of Web presence" is what TimBL described in 1998 (Semantic Web Roadmap) and more recently in 2007 (Giant Global Graph)
  6. The Linked Data mesh (i.e Linked Data Web or GGG) is anchored by the use of HTTP to mint Location, Structure, and Value independent Object Identifiers called URIs or IRIs. In addition, the Linked Data Web is also equipped with a query language, protocol, and results serialization format for XML and JSON called: SPARQL.

So, unlike Scoble, I am able to make my Facebook Data portable without violating Facebook rules (no data caching outside Facebook realm) by doing the following:

  1. Use an RDFizer for Facebook to convert XML response data from Facebook Web Services into RDF "on the fly" Ensure that my RDF is comprised of Object Identifiers that are HTTP based and thereby dereferencable (i.e. I can use SPARQL to unravel the Linked Data Graph in my Facebook data space)
  2. The act of data dereferencing enables me to expose my Facebook Data as Linked Data associated with my Personal URI
  3. This interaction only occurs via my data space and in all cases the interactions with data work via my RDFizer middleware (e.g the Virtuoso Sponger) that talks directly to Facebook Web Services.

In a nutshell, my Linked Data Space enables you to reference data in my data space via Object Identifiers (URIs), and some cases the Object IDs and Graphs are constructed on the fly via RDFization middleware.

Here are my URIs that provide different paths to my Facebook Data Space:

To conclude, 2008 is clearly the inflection year during which we will final unshackle Data and Identity from the confines of "Web Data Silos" by leveraging the HTTP, SPARQL, and RDF induced virtues of Linked Data.

Related Posts:

  1. 2008 and the Rise of Linked Data
  2. Scoble Right, Wrong, and Beyond
  3. Scoble interviewing TimBL (note to Scoble: re-watch your interview since he made some specific points about Linked Data and URIs that you need to grasp)
  4. Prior Blog posts my this Blog Data Space that include the literal patterns: Scoble Semantic Web