Re: The need for RDF in Linked Data

On 17 June 2013 12:02, Luca Matteis <> wrote:

> Plus, if you don't have RDF strictly within the definition of Linked Data,
> what else do you have? Just any generic data that is linked? Isn't that the
> Web (not Linked Data)?

It depends whether or not you consider the web a data space.

DanC once made the comment, 'The important word in "semantic web" is "web"'

> On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 7:35 AM, David Booth <> wrote:
>> [Followup to please]
>> -------- Original Message --------
>> Subject: The need for RDF in Linked Data
>> Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2013 01:26:35 -0400
>> From: David Booth <>
>> CC: semantic-web <>
>> There seems to be some persistent misunderstanding about the
>> role of RDF in Linked Data, as evidenced by comments like
>> the following:
>>   "RDF is just one implementation of Linked Data"
>> If Linked Data is intended to support the goal of the Semantic
>> Web, then unless the Semantic Web is re-architected with a new
>> foundation, RDF is *essential* to Linked Data -- not optional,
>> and not merely one potential choice among many.  the reason is
>> that the Semantic Web critically relies on the use of *both*
>> a standard universal identification convention (URIs) for its
>> vocabulary, *and* a standard universal information model (RDF)
>> for making statements.
>> To understand why a standard universal information model
>> is important, one must think back to the central goal
>> of the Semantic Web.  the goal is to enable computers
>> to do more useful things for us: to enable them to
>> find, share, combine and make meaningful use of web data.
>> http://www.scientificamerican.**com/article.cfm?id=the-**semantic-web<>
>> This means that a client application processing some web data
>> should be able to follow links in that data to find more data
>> that it can *also* meaningfully use.  the only way that can be
>> achieved is by using a standard universal information model.
>> otherwise the client application will have no reliable way to
>> properly interpret that new data.
>> For example, suppose the client application dereferences
>> a URI and obtains a comma-separated-values (CSV) document.
>> unless the client application knew how to interpret that file,
>> it would not be able to make meaningful use of that data.
>> it would be stuck at a dead end.  but if the document were
>> expressed in a standard universal information model, then
>> the client application would at least be able to understand
>> what statements the document was making.  and if the client
>> application did not already understand the vocabulary --
>> i.e. the meanings of the URIs -- then it could recursively,
>> using Linked Data techniques, dereference the URIs to discover
>> their meanings.
>> Why does RDF need to be the standard universal information
>> model?  not because it is perfect, but because *some* standard
>> universal information model is needed, and that is the one
>> that was chosen, just as URIs were chosen to be the standard
>> universal identification convention.  furthermore, because RDF
>> is syntax independent, a document does not have to *look* like
>> RDF in order to be interpreted as RDF. for example, GRDDL allows
>> arbitrary XML to be interpreted as RDF.  The enormous value
>> of JSON-LD is that it provides a more web-developer-friendly
>> syntax than ever before for a universal information model.
>> why couldn't other sufficiently powerful information models
>> achieve the same Semantic Web goal just as well, and be used
>> in addition to RDF?  Because that would fragment the web.
>> instead of one web we would have many webs, each one its own
>> walled garden, and that is not be Semantic Web goal.  without a
>> shared information model, client applications would not be
>> able to meaningfully combine the data from those walled gardens.
>> I do not expect anyone to take my word for this. All I ask is
>> that you think about it.  Because if you do, the conclusion
>> is unavoidable: if Linked Data is going to support the goal
>> of the Semantic Web (without re-architecting it), then Linked
>> Data MUST be based on RDF.
>> this obviously begs the question: *should* Linked Data support
>> the goal of the Semantic Web?  that certainly was TimBL's
>> intent when he coined the term and wrote his article about
>> it:**DesignIssues/LinkedData.html<>(but I
>> continue to be amazed at how differently different people seem
>> to understand that article, so I imagine there would still be
>> some who would disagree even with *that* point.)
>> *I* certainly think that Linked Data should support the goal
>> of the Semantic Web.  and I think that JSON-LD -- *because*
>> it will be such a web-developer-friendly RDF syntax (assuming
>> a few small issues are resolved, so that it really *is* an
>> RDF syntax) -- will be a big step forward.
>> If the term Linked Data is "hijacked" by a broader population
>> to mean *any* sort of data that is linked -- not necessarily
>> RDF -- then this will be a major loss to the Semantic Web
>> community, because it is very hard to come up with simple ways
>> to communicate the essence of the Semantic Web.  The Linked
>> Data meme has been extremely helpful.  If the RDF component
>> is lost, we will have lost the best meme we have ever had for
>> explaining the Semantic Web.`
>> David
>> [Followup to please]

Received on Monday, 17 June 2013 10:26:39 UTC