Introducing Linked Data And The Semantic Web

Next: Introducing Graph Data

What is Linked Data and the Semantic Web and what is all the hype about? Principally, the Semantic Web is a Web 3.0 web technology - a way of linking data between systems or entities that allows for rich, self-describing interrelations of data available across the globe on the web.

In essence, it marks a shift in thinking from publishing data in human readable HTML documents to machine readable documents. That means that machines can do a little more of the thinking work for us.

How Does It Differ From The Web As It Is Today?

Today, much of the data we get from the web is delivered to us in the form of web pages - HTML documents that are linked to each other through the use of hyperlinks. Humans or machines can read these documents, but other than typically seeking keywords in a page, machines have difficulty extracting any meaning from these documents themselves.

Enter Linked Data - Liberating Web Databases From Their Old Chains

The web contains lots of information, but typically the raw data itself isn't available - rather only HTML documents constructed from data, if a web site is generated from a database at all.

So the semantic web seeks to change the landscape of the internet with regard this problem in a number of ways:

  • Opening up the web of data to artificial intelligence processes (getting the web to do a bit of thinking for us).
  • Encouraging companies, organisations and individuals to publish their data freely, in an open standard format.
  • Encouraging businesses to use data already available on the web (data give/take).

In essence, taking all that information published in HTML documents in different places, and allowing the description of models of data that allow it all to be treated - and researched - as if it were one database. The benefits to the automated research of all the data humanity has to offer on the internet in comparison to today's tools and software are tremendous.

But Where Do I Start?

It needn't be complicated. We've created a series of introductory articles to help you get started. The following will dig deeper into what the semantic web is, how it differs from today's web, and the technologies that will be used to create it.

  • Tutorial 1 Introduction To Graph Databases - gives a brief overview of the way in which the semantic web stores data.
  • Tutorial 2 RDF - A Quick Start - an introductory look at Resource Description Framework (RDF), the format the semantic web uses to store data in graph databases.
  • Tutorial 3 Semantic Modeling - introduces the key aspects of describing data with meaning, or semantics - and the tremendous advantages this can offer.
  • Tutorial 4 Introduction To RDFS & OWL - the key syntax the semantic web uses to encode semantic meaning into data.
  • Tutorial 5 Querying Semantic Data - how to query published semantic data using SPARQL protocol - the means to harness the immense discovery capabilities of the semantic web.


#13 2015-03-18 14:12
Awesome tutorial! Thanks for this perfectly human-comprehensible explanation about Linked Data & semantic web. The only things I'm questioning now is: RDF-REST? CRUD over RDF resouces? You mentioned SPARUL, SPARQL+ maybe for this purpose. So, I feel that I need to research much more about this. And finally, the link "" included in the 5.1 section give me a 404 error, or I can't find correctly the UK government's SPARQL query endpoint :'/

Thank you very much for this great work!!
#12 2014-04-04 05:06
everyone says thanks; more than I have ever seen on any article about the Semantic Web. so I say thanks too!

#11 admin 2012-11-03 09:56
Hi Faheem - thanks for your comment. In answer to your question, we are currently developing an advanced series of tutorials, the first tutorial of which will focus on use of semantics in applications, and how they differ from traditional three tier applications. If you send us your e-mail address, we can send you a link for preview. But it should be published very shortly. Thanks for your feedback.
#10 2012-10-31 03:32
This is the best tutorial on semantic web I've ever seen. Thanks a lot.
But can we see more on semantic web like, how to develop and deploy semantic web application?, how to convert existing web application into semantic one? what will be the difference between these two (the semantic one that is developed and the converted one from www to semantic web? and especially how we can access/exploit semantic web data/ linked open data in other applications like www apps, and augmented reality browsers etc???

Thanks a lot
#9 2012-07-20 10:03
I have read many tutorial. But this is very easy and simple to understand on this topic. Thanks.
#8 haftish21 2012-06-14 13:18
The kind of tutorial I was browsing for. Every sections are written in an understandable manner. Two thumbs up! Thank you v. much!!!!!
#7 2012-05-31 21:39
Would be good to have some video tutorials, I find reading quite boring and I think this is the idea of linked data? "Excite people about data"
This is exactly the tool I have been looking for... Just needs some New Zealand data!
#6 2012-02-18 21:13
Awesome tute... Would love something on WSDL/SOAP integration...
#5 2012-01-07 11:33
Already rode some about RDF and the hole thing. Best tutorial I could find. THANKS!
#4 2011-07-05 21:18
Great tutorial, but it would be very useful if you could provide a PDF version for printing or off-line reading.

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