The Resource description framework (RDF) is a technical framework for linking together, uniformly interpreting and creating context for data published on the web also refered to as linked data and semntic web created by W3C.
The framework was launched in 2001 and builds on technology and standards that made the web possible in the early 1990s. The basic idea of the technology was to create a uniform semantic understanding meaning of words and concepts so that data could be exchanged and shared openly on the web. The framework contains standards for linking data to metadata description that can be used by anyone who needs to describe objects and concepts so that data can be interpreted uniformly between organizations, industries and over national boundaries.
The framework is based on established theories from discrete mathematics and form the basis of graph databases suitable for storing dynamic relationships and performing semantic queries. The framework also contains descriptive logic developed in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the early 1980s to construct rules to validate logical reasoning. Together, it enables a description of logical reasoning in digital format that can be used to extract implicit knowledge from known facts and axioms. For example, the framework is used DNA research to find new DNA sequences that has not been known before.
At the time when the framework was created, there was a vision of a decentralized web where people, organizations and companies shared data with each other. Where the semantic web and smart agents formed a common digital infrastructure that could solve our needs by finding relationships between producers and consumers of services without having to be configured to solve specific tasks or requests. This can be seen against today’s agents like Apple Siri and Google Assistant, which can only perform tasks and find links they are specifically designed to do.
The vision that Tim Berners-Lee (creator of WWW & HTTP) together with other researchers had is today less likely due to various reasons. The web, which was once created as an open digital infrastructure for sharing data and services with each other, has been replaced by an internet where large platform owners dominate and retain ownership of data and information that users generate and share on their platforms. Another reason is that principles of openness and participation can be abused by malicious actors and can pose a security problem in a digitised society.
Today, there is no further development of the framework as a whole, but several of the technologies and standards that were created are still alive, maintained and developed. An example of this is that W3C launched JSON-LD 2014 to make technology more accessible in a data format JSON, which is used today by many web services. The same year, Google launched the Knowledge Graph Search API service, which uses the JSON-LD format and displays related concepts and concepts to search keywords. The following year, Google, Bing and Yahoo started schema.org to improve web search by providing linkable common models to describe terms and concepts. Another example is Facebook OpenGraph, which is an RDF-like standard for integrating articles that others are publishing online to the company’s own platform, which supply articles with metadata to personalise news feeds for users. This shows that several parts of the technology that were developed for the semantic web and linked data are viable, but that there is a need to adapt it to be relevant and more easily accessible to businesses and developers. If you have questions, please post them in the comment filed concerning and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
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