Learning the lingo and getting to grips with technical terminology isn’t critical to understanding the concepts behind Semantic Web, but studying the basics will certainly help! So if you’re tormented by Triples, mesmerised by mash-ups or oblivious on ontology, here’s an introduction to the dictionary of Semantic Web.
In the World Wide Web, documents are linked to other documents using hyperlinks. Similarly, linked data consists of linking concepts to other concepts in disparate data sources and exposing the structured data on the Web.
A mash-up is an application that combines data or functionality from multiple sources to create new content or new functionality. As an example, after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan people created mash-ups which combined location and information about vital services mapped onto their geographical location using tools such as Open Street Map and Google Maps. Another example is WikiFM’s mash-up between Last.FM and Wikipedia allowing you to view the artist and song information from Wikipedia whilst listening to Last.FM radio.
Ontology is the formal definition of concepts in a particular domain and the relationship between those concepts expressed in a re-usable and machine-readable format.
OWL stands for Web Ontology Language. It is a W3C standard which is used for the representation of ontologies.
RDF stands for Resource Description Framework. It is a flexible and extensible way of defining things and how the relate to other things. RDF is an abstract and conceptual framework of defining concepts and inter-relationships. One of the prime benefits of using RDF is the ease of interoperability between disparate data sets. Once you mark up your data with concepts from a particular vocabulary, your data becomes instantly interoperable with other data where the same vocabulary has been used or derivatives of it. If you have content providers who have used different vocabularies to mark up their data, then Semantic Web technology can create a Semantic ‘bridge’ between the two vocabularies so that concepts and relationships from one can be mapped to the other. One of the serialisation formats of RDF is XML.
Triples are statements about concepts and relationships between those concepts. A triple consists of a subject, a predicate and an object. If we use “A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens”, as an example, in this case, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is the subject, ‘written by’ is the predicate and ‘Charles Dickens’ is the object. The same object can be the subject of another Triple, such as “Charles Dickens was born in England”. Inter-linking Triples create a mesh of data. Triples are the basic units of information in Semantic Web technologies, so in understanding these concepts, you can begin to understand the rich and powerful technologies of Semantic Web.
This is not intended to be comprehensive, but to provide a snapshot of the key terms used when discussing the Semantic Web. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an invaluable resource for further information the Semantic Web and associated standards -http://www.w3.org/standards/semanticweb.
Update: Ingenta will be attending two semantic web events in New York & London in September, organised by Mediabistro. They both promise to provide a great overview of the applications of the semantic web for businesses such as publishers, and we’ve included more information below. Hope to see you there.
Semantic Web Media Summit
The Semantic Web is here and revolutionizing the media industry! Join us at Semantic Web Media Summit, September 14 in New York City and learn how the Semantic Web is changing media production, consumption, and monetization. The event gathers semantic technology and media experts including Mike Dunn (Hearst Interactive Media), Rachel Lovinger (Razorfish), Evan Sandhaus (The New York Times Company), and Mike Petit (OpenAmplify) who will share how the Semantic Web works and what it is doing to transform the media business.
Semantic Tech & Business Conference
Semantic Web Technologies are being used today and creating new opportunities to revamp and build your business. Don’t miss your chance to get ahead of the competition! The Semantic Tech and Business Conference will be held in London on 26-27 September 2011 and will take a look into how companies are successfully integrating semantic technologies and linked open data into their business plans. With two tracks over two days, business and technology experts will explain the inner workings of the Semantic Web and how you can take advantage of it in your enterprise and web-based systems.