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2. RDF: Heart and Soul

Chapter 2. RDF: Heart and Soul

RDF’s purpose is fairly straightforward: it provides a means of recording data in a machine-understandable format, allowing for more efficient and sophisticated data interchange, searching, cataloging, navigation, classification, and so on. It forms the cornerstone of the W3C effort to create the Semantic Web, but its use isn’t restricted to this specific effort.

Perhaps because RDF is a description for a data model rather than a description of a specific data vocabulary, or perhaps because it has a foothold in English, logic, and even in human reasoning, RDF has a strong esoteric element to it that can be intimidating to a person wanting to know a little more about it. However, RDF is based on a well-defined set of rules and constraints that governs its format, validity, and use. Approaching RDF through the specifications is a way of grounding RDF, putting boundaries around the more theoretical concepts.


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