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Introduction to RDF

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The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a W3C standard for describing Web resources, such as the title, author, modification date, content, and copyright information of a Web page.

What You Should Already Know

Before you continue you should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • HTML
  • XML
  • XML Namespaces

If you want to study these subjects first, find the tutorials on our Home page.

What is RDF?

  • RDF stands for Resource Description Framework
  • RDF is a framework for describing resources on the web
  • RDF provides a model for data, and a syntax so that independent parties can exchange and use it
  • RDF is designed to be read and understood by computers
  • RDF is not designed for being displayed to people
  • RDF is written in XML
  • RDF is a part of the W3C's Semantic Web Activity
  • RDF is a W3C Recommendation

RDF - Examples of Use

  • Describing properties for shopping items, such as price and availability
  • Describing time schedules for web events
  • Describing information about web pages, such as content, author, created and modified date
  • Describing content and rating for web pictures
  • Describing content for search engines
  • Describing electronic libraries

RDF is Designed to be Read by Computers

RDF was designed to provide a common way to describe information so it can be read and understood by computer applications.

RDF descriptions are not designed to be displayed on the web.

RDF is Written in XML

RDF documents are written in XML. The XML language used by RDF is called RDF/XML.

By using XML, RDF information can easily be exchanged between different types of computers using different types of operating systems and application languages.

RDF and "The Semantic Web"

The RDF language is a part of the W3C's Semantic Web Activity. W3C's "Semantic Web Vision" is a future where:

  • Web information has exact meaning
  • Web information can be understood and processed by computers
  • Computers can integrate information from the web

RDF is a W3C Recommendation

RDF became a W3C Recommendation 10. February 2004.

To read more about the RDF activities at W3C, please read our W3C tutorial.

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