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.