What is RDF?

The acronym stands for: Resource Description Framework. And that's just what it is.

RDF is comprised of a Data Model (EAV/CR Graph) and Data Representation Formats such as: N3, Turtle, RDF/XML etc.

RDF's essence is about: "Entities" and "Attributes" being URI based, while "Values" may be URI or Literals (typed or untyped) based.

URIs are Entity Identifiers.

What is Linked Data?

Short for "Web of Linked Data" or "Linked Data Web".

A term coined by TimBL that describes an HTTP based "data access by reference pattern" that uses a single pointer or handle for "referring to" and "obtaining actual data about" an entity.

Linked Data uses the deceptively simple messaging scheme of HTTP to deliver a granular entity reference and access mechanism that transcends traditional computing boundaries such as: operating system, application, database engines, and networks.

How are Linked Data & RDF Related?

Linked Data simply mandates the following re. RDF:

  • URIs should be HTTP based so that you can "refer to" (Reference) an Entity, its Attributes, or URI based Attribute values via the Web (infact any HTTP based network e.g., Intranets and Extranets)
  • URIs should also be HTTP based so that you can use them to de-reference resource descriptions via the Web (or Intranets and Extranets).

Note: by Entity I am also referring to: a resource (Web parlance), data item, data object, real-world object, or datum.

Linked Data is also about, using URIs and HTTP's content negotiation feature to separate: presentation, representation, access, and identity of data items. Even better, content negotiation can be driven by user agent and/or data server based quality of service algorithms (representation preference order schemes).

To conclude, Linked Data is ultimately about the realization that: Data is the new Electricity, and it's conductors are URIs :-)

Tip to governments of the world: we are in exponential times, the current downturn is but one side of the "exponential times ledger", the other side of the "exponential times ledger" is simply about unleashing "raw data" -- in structured form -- into the Web, so that "citizen analysts" can blossom and ultimately deliver the transparency desperately sought at every level of the economic value chain. Think: "raw data ready" whenever you ponder about "shovel ready" infrastructure projects!