1. It isn't World Wide Web Specific (HTTP != World Wide Web)
  2. It isn't Open Data Specific
  3. It isn't about "Free" (Beer or Speech)
  4. It isn't about Markup (so don't expect to grok it via "markup first" approach)
  5. It's about Hyperdata - the use of HTTP and REST to deliver a powerful platform agnostic mechanism for Data Reference, Access, and Integration.

When trying to understand HTTP based Linked Data, especially if you're well versed in DBMS technology use (User, Power User, Architect, Analyst, DBA, or Programmer) think:

  • Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) without operating system, data model, or wire-protocol specificity or lock-in potential
  • Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) without programming language specificity
  • ADO.NET without .NET runtime specificity and .NET bound language specificity
  • OLE-DB without Windows operating system & programming language specificity
  • XMLA without XML format specificity - with Tabular and Multidimensional results formats expressible in a variety of data representation formats.
  • All of the above scoped to the Record rather than Container level, with Generic HTTP scheme URIs associated with each Record, Field, and Field value (optionally)

Remember the need for Data Access & Integration technology is the by product of the following realities:

  1. Human curated data is ultimately dirty, because:
    • our thick thumbs, inattention, distractions, and general discomfort with typing, make typos prevalent
    • database engines exist for a variety of data models - Graph, Relational, Hierarchical;
    • within databases you have different record container/partition names e.g. Table Names;
    • within a database record container you have records that are really aspects of the same thing (different keys exist in a plethora of operational / line of business systems that expose aspects of the same entity e.g., customer data that spans Accounts, CRM, ERP application databases);
    • different field names (one database has "EMP" while another has "Employee") for the same record
    • .
  2. Units of measurement is driven by locale, the UK office wants to see sales in Pounds Sterling while the French office prefers Euros etc.
  3. All of the above is subject to context halos which can be quite granular re. sensitivity e.g. staff travel between locations that alter locales and their roles; basically, profiles matters a lot.