Hey, I Learned Something! Part 3: Why do I care about linked data?

A good sign of a well-written textbook:  The first chapter heading is what pops into your mind when reading the chapter title.  And, sure enough, the first heading of Chapter 11 in Miller’s textbook (which is “Metadata, Linked Data, and the Semantic Web”) is “11.1. What are Linked Data and the Semantic Web and Why Care about Them?”

Because, really?  This is all-new stuff.  You could have been in libraries for years and never heard about this, or maybe heard about it in passing.

Alas, for those hoping to get immediately up and running on Linked Data and the Semantic Web (good band name?) will be a bit frustrated.  Here are the portions of definition you’ll get from this chapter, which (intelligently) goes to the sources for their definitions.  Linked Data is:

  • “about using the Web to connect related data”
  • “describe[s] a recommended best practice”
  • “a sub-topic of the Semantic Web”
  • “a method of exposing, sharing and connecting data via dereferenceable URIs on the Web”

Likewise, the Semantic Web is:

  • “a group of methods and technologies” allowing machines to understand the meaning of WWW information
  • “is not formally defined”
  • “a vision of the future”

I think it could be put in two sentences like this: The Semantic Web is an idea, the idea that information on the World Wide Web, properly processed, can allow machines to have knowledge about its contents.  Linked Data is one of the groups of methods to help accomplish that idea, that group centered around URIs as bases of informative concepts, linked together using RDF.  I’ll see how that guess goes as I continue reading…

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Hey, I Learned Something! Part 3: Why do I care about linked data?

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